Peter Hambro Mining PLC (POG.L) Russia's No. 2 gold miner, said on Thursday its output rose 72 percent to 107,400 ounces in the first quarter of this year after the first stage of one of its mills reached full capacity.

We are very pleased with the effect of the new processing plant at Pioneer coming to full production, and we believe this will be good for the group in the present high gold price environment, Executive Chairman Peter Hambro told Reuters.

Output at the Pioneer deposit rose 311 percent to 66,000 ounces in the first three months of this year from the same period a year ago, while production at its other deposit, Pokrovsky, fell by 12 percent to 40,800 ounces.

Output from the Pokrovsky mine is expected to decline in 2009 to a total of 177,000 ounces, a Peter Hambro statement said.

But the company expects to commission the second stage of the Pioneer plant in July for it to reach full capacity by September.

The statement said that the company confirmed its output guidance for 2009 of 460,000-510,000 ounces. Hambro declined to confirm its previous guidance for subsequent years.

In March, Peter Hambro cut it's output forecast for 2010 and 2011, saying it did not expect to reach 1 million ounces until 2012. [ID:nL6596445]

The company sold 99,053 ounces of gold in the first quarter of this year, up 95 percent year-on-year, the statement said.

London-listed Peter Hambro, which operates in Russia's east, produced 393,600 ounces of gold in 2008, 6.6 percent of Russia's total. (Reporting by Aleksandras Budrys; Editing by Keiron Henderson)© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved