Avion Gold Corporation (TSX:AVR)(OTCQX:AVGCF) (Avion or the Company) is pleased to announce first quarter 2012 production of approximately 26,256 ounces of gold from its Tabakoto/Segala operations in Mali, West Africa. This has set a record for the Company for amount of gold produced in one quarter.
During the first quarter of 2012, the Company milled 225,700 tonnes of ore at an average grade of 4.02 g/t Au, with a 90.2% mill recovery.
Record Mill Production in March, 2012
Avion produced 11,887 ounces of gold in March, 2012, after refinery adjustments. This is the highest amount achieved by the Company in a one month period, and is attributable to the start of underground mine production at its Tabakoto deposit earlier in the year.
Commenting on the first quarter 2012 production numbers, Avion's Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Andrew Bradfield, stated: Record production in March was achieved despite a military coup in the last week of the month. The strong results are a testament to the hard work and dedication of the management team at the mine site, and the higher than expected grades and lower dilution at the Tabakoto underground mine.
Avion Hires Vice President Operations
The Company is also pleased to announce that it has hired Richard Allan, P.Eng., as Vice President Operations. Mr. Allan brings over 34 years of mining experience to the Company, and was recently the Senior Director - Mining of Barrick Gold Corporation.
Military Coup Situation
Under intense pressure from the nations bordering Mali, the military leaders who seized control of the country in a coup last month signed an accord, agreeing late Friday to return the country to constitutional rule. As such, the recent sanctions imposed by neighboring West African countries have been lifted and borders have been re-opened. Management views these developments as positive for the Company as it will allow production and operations to continue as normal in Mali. However, Avion's mill expansion may be impacted as Malian custom and import offices will take some time to become fully operational again and allow materials required to complete the mill expansion to enter the country. The length of the delay is unknown at this time.
Andrew Bradfield, P.Eng., the Chief Operating Officer of the Company, and a qualified person under National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information in this press release.
About Avion Gold Corporation
Avion is a Canadian-based gold mining company focused in West Africa that holds 80% of the Tabakoto and Segala gold projects in Mali. Avion's gold production commenced at these projects in 2009 with approximately 51,290 ounces produced. 2010 production was 87,630 ounces of gold. 2011 production was 91,200 ounces of gold. The current mineral reserve estimate (as of January 1, 2011) of 7.24 million tonnes grading 3.92 g/t Au totaling 913,100 ounces of gold (proven and probable), for the Tabakoto project property, demonstrates several sources of excellent grade open pit and good grade underground mineral resources thus providing significant flexibility for Avion's future mining plans. The Company has developed an underground mine at the Tabakoto deposit, and is developing another underground mine at the Segala deposit. The Tabakoto project property also contains several producing open pit mines. Production sustainability will continue to be supported by exploration programs over an approximately 600 km2 exploration package that both surrounds and is near to the Company's existing mine infrastructure, and contains mineral resources on the Kofi property. Additionally, mineral resources have grown considerably at Avion's 1,600 km2 Hounde exploration property in Burkina Faso. Aggressive exploration programs are underway at the Tabakoto, Kofi and Hounde properties for 2012. Avion continues to progress towards its short term goal of 200,000 ounces of gold per year and a longer term goal of 400,000 to 500,000 ounces of gold per year through development of its exploration properties. Avion has a highly skilled management team, with a focus on growth and consolidation within West Africa.
This press release contains forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking information includes, without limitation, statements regarding production estimates for 2012; impact of the mineral resource update on the Company; statements regarding plant expansions; statements regarding the impact of the drilling results on the Company; statements with respect to the development potential and timetable of the Tabakoto and Hounde projects; the future price of gold; the estimation of mineral resources; conclusions of economic evaluation (including scoping studies); the realization of mineral resource estimates; the timing and amount of estimated future production, development and exploration; costs of future activities; capital and operating expenditures; success of exploration activities; mining or processing issues; currency exchange rates; government regulation of mining operations; and environmental risks. Generally, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as plans, expects or does not expect, is expected, budget, scheduled, estimates, forecasts, intends, anticipates or does not anticipate, or believes, or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results may, could, would, might or will be taken, occur or be achieved. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to those risks described in the annual information form of the Company which is available under the profile of the Company on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Avion Gold Corporation
Manager, Investor Relations
Source: Avion Gold Corporation