Ariana Resources (LSE:AAU) released a production update on Tuesday regarding its mining operations at the Kiziltepe Mine in Turkey. Gold production from the mine in the first quarter of this year exceeded the firm’s quarterly guidance by 17pc, and was 67pc higher than the same period in 2018. Silver produced from Kiziltepe has also almost tripled compared with production during Q1 2018.

Production was slightly lower than last quarters bumper figures, but exceptional wet weather likely had a part to play in that. In fact, despite required pushbacks to facilitate the expansion at Arzu South and issues with the weather, processing levels were maintained during the quarter by way of drawing down stockpiles of ore. Total ore processed in the period was 46,824 tonnes, a little under the 49,717 tonnes moved in Q4 2018.

Ariana says the average metallurgical plant recovery of gold for the quarter remains high at 93.7pc with an average head grade to the plant of 4.83 grams per tonne of gold. Kiziltepe, alongside the Tavsan gold project is part of the Red Rabbit Joint Venture with Proccea Construction. Ariana owns a 50pc interest in th venture through its shareholding in Zenit Madencilik San. ve Tic. A.S.

Alongside Zenit, Ariana is shortly undertaking a 600m diamond drilling programme at Tavsan. This will focus on resource infill drilling for 355m within freehold land at the Tavsan North and Far North zones.  Additionally, Ariana and Zenit will conduct 245m of geotechnical drilling at Tavsan this month as part of an internal feasibility study.

Dr. Kerim Sener, Managing Director, commented:

"We would like to congratulate the mine management team on an excellent set of first quarter 2019 results, in addition to achieving the scheduled pushbacks which accommodate final-stage pit expansion at Arzu South. Production during the quarter has exceeded our average quarterly guidance by 17%. While movement of ore from the open pit was limited by the pushbacks, output of the process plant was maintained at high levels through the planned drawdown on stockpiles. Activities within the open pit were also impacted during the period due to unusually wet weather, but as we approach the summer period, we are expecting a return to higher ore movements from the pit, particularly towards the latter half of this year."

Author: Stuart Langelaan

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