AuRico Gold Inc. (TSX:AUQ) (NYSE:AUQ), (AuRico, AuRico Gold or the Company) is pleased to provide the third monthly status update on the exciting Young-Davidson mine located in the prolific Abitibi gold belt in Northern Ontario.
Wet commissioning has been completed and ore processing has commenced which now allows the team to fully test the various systems prior to commencing 24 hour operations.
Young-Davidson Project Construction Update
The Young-Davidson Project is nearing completion of the pre-production construction phase with the mill processing construction required for commissioning virtually complete. All Young-Davidson employees and contractors are diligently working towards achieving the first gold pour, a key project milestone, which is expected to occur this month. The Company provided an update on commissioning activities as well as the expanded three-year production profile during the March 28th Analyst Day webcast.
We reached a key milestone on March 22, with the startup of the mill grinding circuit. This is the heart of the plant and often the most difficult to commission. However, we have enjoyed a smooth commissioning and the issues that we have encountered have been minor items that are not uncommon to mill start-ups. said Peter MacPhail, Chief Operating Officer, Canada and Australia. He continued, Given the progress we have made to date, we expect to begin continuous operations within a week, which will culminate in our much anticipated first gold pour later this month.
The following major project milestones have been achieved:
Mill process systems required for initial gold production are virtually complete.
Ore processing of low-grade stockpiles began on March 22.
Leach tanks are full and carbon will be added in the coming days.
The SO2 plant for cyanide destruction will be going through commissioning next week.
The concrete ore bins are constructed to final height.
Construction of the ore and waste bins at the Northgate Shaft is progressing well.
Ground support for the first leg of the Northgate shaft has commenced and has reached a depth of 50 metres.
Open pit mining rates during March averaged 23,370 tonnes per day of ore and waste, with a target of 35,000 tonnes per day by the end of the second quarter.
Approximately 650,000 ore tonnes (approaching four months mill feed) have already been stockpiled by March 31st. This tonnage represents approximately 9% of the reserves in the open pit and blastholes continue to reconcile positively to the reserve model.
Underground development continues to focus on ramp and shaft access to the mid-shaft ore and waste handling systems. Current vertical access is 825 meters below surface. The level access has been established to access the top and bottom elevations of the crusher station.
In the process of mobilizing two additional diamond drilling rigs (four total) to begin to test new resource expansion targets in addition to the ongoing step-out drilling at YD West.
The Young-Davidson operation continues to maintain its high safety record has now surpassed 1.5M hours without a lost time injury.
About AuRico Gold
AuRico Gold is a leading Canadian gold producer with a diversified portfolio of high quality mines and projects in North America. Following the divestiture of the Australian assets, and the imminent achievement of first production at Young-Davidson, the Company will have 4 operating properties including the Ocampo mine in Chihuahua State, the El Chanate mine in Sonora State, and the El Cubo mine in Guanajuato State. The exciting Young-Davidson gold mine in northern Ontario is expected to reach commercial production by the third quarter of this year and ramp-up to over 200,000 ounces of annual production by 2015. AuRico's strong project pipeline includes several advanced development opportunities in Mexico and British Columbia as well as a number of highly prospective exploration properties. AuRico's head office is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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