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Argonaut Gold Announces First Quarter 2015 Revenue of $51.0 M; Cash Balance Builds to $64.0 M

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 5, 2015) - Argonaut Gold Inc. (AR.TO) (the "Company", "Argonaut Gold" or "Argonaut") is pleased to announce its financial and operating results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2015. All dollar amounts are expressed in United States dollars unless otherwise specified.

1st Quarter Change
2015 2014
Financial Data (in millions except earnings per share)
Revenue $51.0 $39.1 +30%
Gross profit $6.8 $8.0 -15%
Net income $1.5 $2.8 -46%
Earnings per share - basic $0.01 $0.02 -50%
Cash flow from operating activities before changes in non-cash operating working capital and other items $16.8 $12.9

+30%
Cash and cash equivalents $64.0 $59.7 +7%
Gold Production and Cost Data
GEOs loaded to the pads1 54,254 52,605 +3%
GEOs projected recoverable ounces1,2 31,634 29,325 +8%
GEOs produced ounces1 43,255 30,963 +40%
GEOs ounces sold1 42,418 30,165 +41%
Average realized sales price per gold ounce $1,211 $1,304 -7%
Cash cost per gold ounce sold3 $735 $731 +1%
All-in sustaining cost per gold ounce sold3 $883 $976 -10%
1 Gold equivalent ounces ("GEO" or "GEOs") are based on a conversion ratio of 55:1 for silver to gold and is the referenced ratio throughout this release.
2 Recoverable ounces - El Castillo expected recovery rates: ROM oxide 50%, crushed oxide 70%, ROM transition 40%, crushed transition 60%, crushed sulphides argillic 30% and crushed sulphides silicic 17%; La Colorada expected recovery rates: gold 60% and silver 30%.
3 Refer to section Non-IFRS Measures.

FIRST QUARTER 2015 FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Revenue of $51.0 million from sales of 42,418 GEOs at an average price of $1,211 per gold ounce.
  • Net income of $1.5 million, the foreign exchange effects of the weakening Mexican peso impacted income tax expense via an increase in deferred tax expense of $1.2 million.
  • Cash flow from operations before changes in non-cash working capital and other items of $16.8 million.
  • Capital investments of $11.1 million (mineral properties, plant and equipment) during the quarter.

2015 Company Highlights:

  • Corporate Highlights:
    • Cash balance grows to $64.0 million.
    • The La Colorada mine was selected as Mexico's best company for Corporate Social Responsibility in the small mines category.
  • Production:
    • Production of 43,255 GEOs, a 40% improvement over the first quarter of 2014.
    • Overall cash cost of $735 per gold ounce sold (refer to Non-IFRS Measures section).
    • All-in sustaining cost of $883 per gold ounce sold (refer to Non-IFRS Measures section).
  • El Castillo
    • Quarterly production of 24,845 GEOs.
    • During the quarter, 30,556 contained gold ounces loaded on the leach pads.
    • Over 74,000 tonnes per day mined and 2.8 million ore tonnes placed on the heap leach pads during the quarter.
    • Advance Capital Projects:
      • West valley pad between pad 8 and pads 1-7 (90% complete)
      • East pad 3B (35% complete).
  • La Colorada
    • Record quarterly production of 17,169 gold ounces and 68,261 silver ounces, for 18,410 GEOs.
    • During the quarter, 18,208 contained gold ounces and 301,975 contained silver ounces loaded on the leach pads.
    • Average crusher throughput for the quarter of 12,661 tonnes per day.
      • Record throughput of more than 14,800 tonnes per day in March; this included processing nearly a 50/50 blend from the historic heap leach pad 6 and fresh ore from the La Colorada/Gran Central pit.
    • Advanced capital projects:
      • Phase I of new pad 6 completed.
      • Pad 9A ground cleared.
      • Installation of phase I of overland conveyor 80% complete.

CEO Commentary

Pete Dougherty, President and CEO of Argonaut Gold stated, "Argonaut achieved tremendous operating results during the first quarter of 2015. In addition to a strong quarter of production, we added $13 million to our cash balance, saw year over year overall cash costs stay flat and received recognition for our commitment to the communities where we operate, by being named the number one small mine in Mexico for Corporate Social Responsibility.

Meanwhile, we continue to work on the advanced exploration projects in the Company's portfolio, devoting resources to San Antonio, San Agustin and Magino. At Magino, we aim to complete a drilling program, release assay results and publish a new Preliminary Economic Assessment; at San Agustin we have begun a modest drill program to test the extent of the mineralization."

Financial Results - First Quarter 2015

Revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2015 was $51.0 million, an increase from $39.1 million during the three months ended March 31, 2014. During the first quarter of 2015, gold ounces sold totaled 40,974 at an average realized price per ounce of $1,211 (compared to 28,639 gold ounces sold at an average price per ounce of $1,304 during the same period of 2014).

Production costs for the first quarter of 2015 were $31.4 million, an increase from $22.6 million in the first quarter of 2014 due to the increased gold ounces sold. Cash cost per gold ounce sold (refer to Non-IFRS Measures section) was $735 in the first quarter of 2015 compared to $731 in the same period of 2014.

Net income for the first quarter of 2015 was $1.5 million or $0.01 per basic share, a decrease from net income of $2.8 or $0.02 per basic share for the first quarter of 2014. The decrease in net income was due principally to a lower average realized gold price per ounce sold and the increase in deferred tax expense due to the foreign exchange effect of the weakening Mexican peso on the calculation of deferred income taxes.

Cash and cash equivalents grew by $13.0 million to $64.0 million at March 31, 2015. Cash spent towards capital expenditures in the first quarter was $11.1 million, primarily for deferred stripping and leach pad construction at the El Castillo and La Colorada mines.

FIRST QUARTER 2015 El CASTILLO OPERATING STATISTICS

3 Months Ended March 31
2015 2014 % Change
Mining (Tonnes 000s)
Tonnes ore 2,811 3,666 -23%
Tonnes waste 3,882 4,164 -7%
Total tonnes mined 6,693 7,829 -15%
Waste/ore ratio 1.38 1.14 +22%
Heap Leach Pad (Tonnes 000s)
Tonnes ore direct to leach pad 0 823 -100%
Tonnes crushed 1,396 1,497 -7%
Tonnes overland conveyor 1,415 1,345 +5%
Production
Gold grade (g/t)1 0.34 0.34 N/A
Gold loaded to leach pad (oz)2 30,556 39,924 -23%
Gold produced (oz)3 24,622 21,976 +12%
GEOs produced4 24,845 22,171 +12%
Gold sold (oz) 23,856 20,906 +14%
Silver sold (oz) 12,259 10,737 +14%
Cash cost per gold ounce sold5 $888 $752 +18%
1 "g/t" refers to grams per tonne.
2 "oz" refers to troy ounce.
3 Produced ounces are calculated as ounces loaded to carbon.
4 GEOs are based on a conversion ratio of 55:1 for silver to gold ounces.
5 Refer to section Non-IFRS Measures.

Summary of Production Results at El Castillo

The gold ounces loaded to the pads in the first quarter 2015 were 23% lower compared to first quarter 2014 due to a lower amount of ore tonnes loaded to the pads.

GEO production of 24,845 ounces in the first quarter of 2015 was a 12% improvement over first quarter of 2014. Good production results were achieved in spite of losing 5 days operating time due to unseasonal rains. Production guidance for 2015 at El Castillo is maintained at 85,000 to 90,000 gold ounces.

FIRST QUARTER 2015 LA COLORADA OPERATING STATISTICS
3 Months Ended March 31
2015 2014 % Change
Mining (Tonnes 000s)
Tonnes ore 483 560 -14%
Tonnes waste 2,544 4,043 -37%
Total tonnes mined 3,027 4,603 -34%
Waste/ore ratio 5.27 7.22 -27%
Gold grade mined (g/t)1 0.58 0.57 +1%
Total ore tonnes rehandled 663 70 +847%
Heap Leach Pad (Tonnes 000s)
Crushed ore tonnes to pad 1,140 635 +80%
Production
Gold grade to leach pad (g/t) 0.50 0.53 -6%
Gold loaded to leach pad (oz)2 18,208 10,812 +68%
Gold produced (oz)3 17,169 7,563 +127%
Silver produced (oz) 68,261 67,579 +1%
GEOs produced4 18,410 8,792 +109%
Gold sold (oz) 17,118 7,733 +121%
Silver sold (oz) 67,134 73,211 -8%
Cash cost per gold ounce sold5 $522 $674 -23%
1 "g/t" refers to grams per tonne.
2 "oz" refers to troy ounce.
3 Produced ounces are calculated as ounces loaded to carbon.
4 GEOs are based on a conversion ratio of 55:1 for silver to gold.
5 Refer to section Non-IFRS Measures.

Summary of Production Results at La Colorada

As anticipated this year, we are currently processing more tonnes from the historic leach pads, therefore, the total ore tonnes mined decreased by 14% for the first quarter 2015 over first quarter 2014. The strip ratio has decreased as the material from the mine has been primarily sourced from the La Colorada pit. As noted, the crusher throughput from material sourced from both locations exceeded operating levels. As a result, record quarterly production for the first quarter in 2015 of 18,410 GEOs was achieved; an increase of 109% over first quarter 2014 production of 8,792 GEOs.

We maintain guidance for La Colorada and anticipate gold equivalent ounce production for the full year 2015 to be between 50,000 and 55,000 ounces.

Chief Operating Officer Comments

Richard Rhoades, commenting on the first quarter of 2015, stated, "We are pleased with the good start to the year. We are delivering on operations and capital projects. We continue to strive to improve costs and find efficiencies. As we see the continued positive results from the efforts made in 2014, we look forward to continuous improvements and deliver on our 2015 targets. As we focus on running our operations as efficiently as possible, it will enable us to meet the Company objectives and deliver value to our shareholders."

Expansion Projects for 2015

The Company maintains its plans to invest approximately $37 million on capital expenditures and exploration initiatives in 2015. Major capital expenditures in 2015 are expected to include approximately $16 million at El Castillo (including $4 million in leach pad expansion, $6 million in sustaining capital and $6 million on capitalized stripping), $11 million at La Colorada (including $3 million in leach pad expansion, $2 million in sustaining capital and $6 million on capitalized stripping), $2 million at Magino, $2 million at San Antonio and $2 million at San Agustin. Exploration expenditures in 2015 are expected to amount to approximately $4 million. As of March 31, 2015, the Company has spent $11.1 million on capital expenditures and exploration initiatives.

Company Progress

Pete Dougherty added "We are pleased with the results of the first quarter, with operations results, positive earnings and adding significant cash to the balance sheet. The Company is maintaining its guidance for 135,000 to 145,000 gold equivalent ounces with an overall cash cost of $700 to $750.

The Company continues with initiatives to unlock shareholder value at its projects, as permitting continues at the San Antonio and Magino development projects and will soon start at San Agustin. These projects are expected to provide future production growth to achieve our goal of becoming a 300,000 to 500,000 ounce a year producer with superior returns on investment."

Argonaut Gold Q1 2015 Financial Results Conference Call and Webcast - May 5, 2015:

The Q1 financial results call is scheduled to take place on May 5, 2015 at 8:30 AM (ET). Details for the call-in participation are:

Q1 2015 Conference Call Information for May 5, 2015:
Toll Free (North America): 1-877-223-4471
International: 1-647-788-4922
Webcast: http://www.argonautgold.com/
Q1 2015 Conference Call Replay:
Toll Free Replay Call (North America): 1-416-621-4642
International Replay Call: 1-800-585-8367
Passcode: 25683922

The conference call replay will be available from 11:30 AM (ET) on May 5, 2015 to May 12, 2015.

Annual General Meeting:

Argonaut Gold Inc. will hold its annual meeting of shareholders on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at 10:00 AM (ET) at the offices of Bennett Jones LLP, located at 3400 One First Canadian Place, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Non-IFRS Measures

The Company has included certain non-IFRS measures including "Cash cost per gold ounce sold" and "All-in sustaining cost per gold ounce sold" in this press release to supplement its financial statements which are presented in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"). Cash cost per gold ounce sold is equal to production costs less silver sales divided by gold ounces sold. All-in sustaining cost per gold ounce sold is equal to production costs less silver sales plus general and administrative expenses, exploration expenses, accretion of reclamation provision and sustaining capital expenditures divided by gold ounces sold. The Company believes that these measures provide investors with an improved ability to evaluate the performance of the Company. Non-IFRS measures do not have any standardized meaning prescribed under IFRS. Therefore they may not be comparable to similar measures employed by other companies. The data is intended to provide additional information and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS. Please see the management's discussion and analysis ("MD&A") for full disclosure on non-IFRS measures.

This press release should be read in conjunction with the Company's unaudited consolidated financial statements for the three months ended March 31, 2015 and associated MD&A, for the same period ended, which are available from the Company's website, www.argonautgold.com, in the "Investors" section under "Financial Filings", and under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Technical Information and Mineral Properties Reports

The technical information contained in this document has been prepared under the supervision of, and has been reviewed and approved by, Mr. Thomas H. Burkhart, Argonaut's Vice President of Exploration, a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101"). For further information on the Company's properties please refer to the reports as listed below on the Company's website www.argonautgold.com or on www.sedar.com:

El Castillo Mine NI 43-101 Technical Report on Resources and Reserves, Argonaut Gold Inc., El Castillo Mine, Durango State, Mexico dated February 24, 2011 and with an effective date of November 6, 2010
La Colorada Mine NI 43-101 Preliminary Economic Assessment La Colorada Project, Sonora, Mexico dated December 30, 2011and with an effective date of October 15, 2011
Magino Gold Project Preliminary Feasibility Study Technical Report for the Magino Project, Wawa, Ontario, Canada dated January 30, 2014 and with an effective date of December 17, 2013
San Antonio Gold Project NI 43-101 Technical Report on Resources, San Antonio Project, Baja California Sur, Mexico dated October 10, 2012 and with an effective date of September 2, 2012
San Agustin Project NI 43-101 Technical Report and Preliminary Economic Assessment on the San Agustin Heap Leach Project, Durango, Mexico dated February 19, 2015 and with an effective date of October 3, 2014

About Argonaut Gold

Argonaut Gold is a Canadian gold company engaged in exploration, mine development and production activities. Its primary assets are the production stage El Castillo mine in Durango, Mexico, and La Colorada mine in Sonora, Mexico. Advanced exploration stage projects include the San Antonio project in Baja California Sur, Mexico, the Magino project in Ontario, Canada and the San Agustin project in Durango, Mexico. The Company also has several exploration stage projects, all of which are located in North America.

Creating Value Beyond Gold

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains certain "forward-looking statements" and "forward-looking information" under applicable Canadian securities laws concerning the proposed transaction and the business, operations and financial performance and condition of Argonaut Gold Inc. ("Argonaut" or "Argonaut Gold"). Forward-looking statements and forward-looking information include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to estimated production and mine life of the various mineral projects of Argonaut; synergies; the realization of mineral reserve estimates; the timing and amount of estimated future production; costs of production; and financial impact of completed acquisitions; the benefits of the development potential of the properties of Argonaut; the future price of gold, copper, and silver; the estimation of mineral reserves and resources; success of exploration activities; and currency exchange rate fluctuations. Except for statements of historical fact relating to Argonaut, certain information contained herein constitutes forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are frequently characterized by words such as "plan," "expect," "project," "intend," "believe," "anticipate", "estimate" and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions "may" or "will" occur. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the statements are made, and are based on a number of assumptions and subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Many of these assumptions are based on factors and events that are not within the control of Argonaut and there is no assurance they will prove to be correct.

Factors that could cause actual results to vary materially from results anticipated by such forward-looking statements include variations in ore grade or recovery rates, changes in market conditions, risks relating to international operations, fluctuating metal prices and currency exchange rates, changes in project parametres, the possibility of project cost overruns or unanticipated costs and expenses, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry, failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated.

These factors are discussed in greater detail in Argonaut's most recent Annual Information Form and in the most recent Management Discussion and Analysis filed on SEDAR, which also provide additional general assumptions in connection with these statements. Argonaut cautions that the foregoing list of important factors is not exhaustive. Investors and others who base themselves on forward-looking statements should carefully consider the above factors as well as the uncertainties they represent and the risk they entail. Argonaut believes that the expectations reflected in those forward-looking statements are reasonable, but no assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct and such forward-looking statements included in this press release should not be unduly relied upon. These statements speak only as of the date of this press release.

Although Argonaut has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be anticipated, estimated or intended. 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. Argonaut 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. Statements concerning mineral reserve and resource estimates may also be deemed to constitute forward-looking statements to the extent they involve estimates of the mineralization that will be encountered if the property is developed. Comparative market information is as of a date prior to the date of this document.