Gold pellets
Gold pellets Lisi Niesner/Reuters

Canadian gold miner AuRico Gold Inc. said Monday its reserves of gold shot up last year by more than one million ounces, in large part because of its acquisitions of Capital Gold Corp. and Northgate Minerals Corp.

The Toronto-based company, which also attributed the increased reserves to organic growth at its North American properties, reported a 217 percent increase to proven and probable reserves and a 758 percent increase in measured and indicated resources.

Through acquisitions and a focused exploration program in 2011, we have grown our reserves by 5.9 million gold equivalent ounces, or a 217 percent increase company-wide, CEO René Marion said in a statement.

Our cornerstone assets, the Young-Davidson and Ocampo mines, contributed the majority of the 2011 reserve increase, with Young-Davidson reporting an addition of over one million gold ounces and Ocampoalso discovering over 450 thousand gold equivalent ounces, many of which are high margin, mill-feed ore.

In the past 12 months, AuRico Gold boosted its reserve ounces per 1,000 shares from 19.6 to 30.6.

The Young-Davidson project is near Matachewan in the northern part of Ontario. Its first gold pour is set for this month. Initial production is estimated at 85,000 ounces this year and 135,000 next year.

The Ocampo project, which composes an open pit and two underground mines, is in Chihuahua State, Mexico, and is AuRico Gold's flagship asset. At the end of 2010, the underground mine was averaging more than 1,700 metric tons per day.