TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 4, 2012) - Avion Gold Corporation (AVR.TO)(AVGCF) ("Avion" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that is has increased its production guidance to between 95,000 and 102,000 ounces of gold for 2012. The mill has delivered solid performance and the underground mining at Tabakoto has been a strong contributor with better than expected grades and recoveries and lower than planned dilution.
John Begeman, President and CEO of Avion stated "Management is pleased with how well the Tabakoto operations performed in the second quarter with higher than forecast grades and budgeted mill recoveries. As a result of this strong operational performance during the first half of 2012, Avion has increased its 2012 production guidance. As well, Avion is confident that in the improved business climate, it makes sense to re-start the mill capacity upgrade as soon as practical."
The Company is also pleased to report that the political situation in Mali has stabilized and as such the Canadian government has reduced its warning advisory by one level in the southern part of Mali, where the Tabakoto Mine is located. In spite of an occasionally challenging operating environment, Avion has continued to operate and produce gold during the coup in Mali thanks to strategic fuel and parts supply inventory levels. Operations at Tabakoto and exploration at Tabakoto and Kofi are proceeding in the normal course. With an interim government in place in Mali and elections promised within the year, stability has returned for the most part in the southern part of the county, leading to the reduction in travel advisories. Avion continues to receive its fuel shipments and supplies are arriving from outside of the country as the customs and imports offices work to rebuild their systems post coup.
The mill expansion, which was delayed when foreign contractors left site during the coup, is anticipated to resume in the latter part of 2012 or early 2013. The Company is negotiating with contractors and necessary parties to return to site as soon as possible, however it will take some time to be able to remobilize teams to the site to recommence the construction. All parts and supplies to complete the mill expansion have now arrived at site.
About Avion Gold Corporation
Avion is a Canadian-based gold mining company focused in West Africa that holds 80% of the Tabakoto and Segala gold projects in Mali. Gold production commenced at these projects in 2009 with approximately 51,290 ounces produced. 2010 production was 87,630 ounces of gold. 2011 production was 91,200 ounces of gold. The current mineral reserve estimate (as of January 1, 2012) of 6.91 million tonnes grading 3.73 g/t Au totaling 827,100 ounces of gold (proven and probable), for the Tabakoto project property, demonstrates several sources of excellent grade open pit and good grade underground mineral resources thus providing significant flexibility for Avion's future mining plans. The Company has developed an underground mine at the Tabakoto deposit, and is developing another underground mine at the Segala deposit. The Tabakoto project property also contains several producing open pit mines. Production sustainability will continue to be supported by exploration programs over an approximately 600 km2 exploration package that both surrounds and is near to the Company's existing mine infrastructure, and contains mineral resources on the Kofi property. Additionally, mineral resources have grown considerably at Avion's 1,600 km2 Hounde exploration property in Burkina Faso. Avion has a highly skilled management team, with a focus on growth and consolidation within West Africa.
Andrew Bradfield, P.Eng., the Chief Operating Officer of the Company, and a qualified person under National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information in this press release.
Certain information set forth in this press release contains "forward-looking statements", and "forward-looking information" under applicable securities laws. Except for statements of historical fact, certain information contained herein constitutes forward-looking statements which include the impact of the political and social conditions in Mali on the Company, management's assessment of Avion's targeted production, future plans, operations and mineral resource estimates and are based on Avion's current internal expectations, estimates, projections, assumptions and beliefs, which may prove to be incorrect. Some of the forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as "expects" "anticipates", "believes", "projects", "plans", and similar expressions. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and undue reliance should not be placed on them. Such forward-looking statements necessarily involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which may cause Avion's actual performance and financial results in future periods to differ materially from any projections of future performance or results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those risks described in the annual information form of the Company. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Avion undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if circumstances or management's estimates or opinions should change except as required by applicable securities laws. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.