Alacer Gold (ASR-T, AQG-X) has bulked up its 2012 production guidance by 3% to 396,000 to 410,000 attributable ounces gold, following higher grades at its Copler gold mine in Turkey despite reporting a weak first quarter.
The company, which on April 20 released the first quarter operating results for its Turkey and Australia operations, said the mines churned out 100,290 oz. (91,377 attributable oz.), a drop of 12% over the last period of 2011.
This slip was largely due to difficult weather conditions at Copler during the period. “Very low temperatures and abnormally high snow falls during the first half of the quarter adversely impacted the performance of the mining fleet, crushing circuit and leaching rates,” the company explains in a statement.
Production at Copler fell by 23% to 44,564 oz. from 1.7 million tonnes grading 1.69 grams per tonne compared to the previous quarter’s 57,800 oz. from 1.9 million tonnes at 1.70 grams.
Recovery rate slipped to 57.9% from 65%, a period ago.
In Australia, the company performed in line with production in the previous quarter. Its Higginsville operation churned out 33,329 oz., a slight dip from the fourth quarter of 2011. At the South Kalgoorlie operations, which Alacer fully owns except for its 49%-stake in Frog’s Legs mine, production increased slightly to 22, 397 oz.
Regardless of the poor performance in Turkey, Alacer increased its 2012 production guidance expecting stronger production following an updated resource for Copler in February, which showed higher grades.
As a result, Alacer revised Copler’s 2012 mine schedule to account for higher grades in the new resource model.
Now Copler should generate between 195,000 and 200,000 oz. gold during the year, up from its previous estimate of 180,000 to 190,000.
On an attributable basis that would be 156,000 to 160,000 oz, up from the previous 144,000 to 152,000 oz.
This drives the company’s total output to 435,000 to 450,000 oz. or 396,000 to 410,000 attributable oz., as the production guidance for its other operations remain the same.
Attributable gold production reflects the company’s 80% interest in Copler.
Alacer will report its full first quarter financials on May 15.
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