(REUTERS) -- Russia-focused gold miner Petropavlovsk said on Thursday its full year output will rise 11 percent to 680,000 ounces in 2012, having beaten last year's target on the back of higher output at its flagship Pioneer mine.

The group's 2012 target is 680,000 oz .. a compound annual growth rate of 26 percent since the group first listed in 2002, the company said in a statement.

In line with the group's conservative approach to forecasting, this target excludes the scheduled expansions at Pioneer and (new mine) Albyn, it added.

Petropavlovsk, which operates four open-pit gold mines in Russia's Far East, produced 630,100 ounces during 2011, ahead of its own forecast for 600,000 oz.

Production at Pioneer rose 56 percent due to operational improvements, the company said. It's fourth mine, Albyn, was commissioned late last year and produced its first gold in December.

Shares in Petropavlovsk have gained nearly 12 percent in early weeks of the year to date, in line with the FTSE 350 Mining Index.

The price of gold, widely seen as a safe haven for investors during uncertain times, has fallen from record highs in early September but remains relatively buoyant at around $1,654 per oz.