Argonaut Gold Inc.
TSX : AR

Argonaut Gold Inc.

April 15, 2015 08:30 ET

Argonaut Gold Announces First Quarter 2015 Production of 43,255 Gold Equivalent Ounces

Strong Quarterly Production Shows Increase of 40% Year Over Year, on Track for Full Year Guidance

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 15, 2015) - Argonaut Gold Inc. ("Argonaut", "Argonaut Gold" or the "Company") (TSX:AR) announced today that it had production of 43,255 gold equivalent ounces ("GEO" or "GEOs") during the first quarter ended March 31, 2015. This included 24,845 GEOs at its 100% owned El Castillo Mine ("El Castillo") located in the State of Durango, Mexico and 18,410 GEOs at its 100% owned La Colorada Mine ("La Colorada") located near Hermosillo, Mexico.

1st Quarter Change
2015 2014
Total Gold Equivalent Ounce Production:
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%
1 GEOs are based on conversion ratio of 55:1 for silver to gold ounces 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%.

FIRST QUARTER 2015 HIGHLIGHTS:

Corporate Highlights

  • Cash balance grows to $64 million.
  • The La Colorada Mine was selected as Mexico's best company for Corporate Social Responsibility in the small mines category.

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.
  • Advancement of the construction of the valley between pad 8 and 1-7 (90% complete) and 3B East (1/3 complete) pads.

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 pad 6 finished.
    • Pad 9A ground cleared.
    • Installation of phase I of overland conveyor 80% complete.

Pete Dougherty, Argonaut Gold's President and CEO, said, "Argonaut continued to have strong production in the first quarter of 2015, in which we produced nearly 31% of the full year production guidance. We continue to see the benefits of operating at a higher cyanide concentration in the circuit, by way of improved recoveries.

The production results in the first quarter exceeded expectations; however, the Company would like to reiterate that production is anticipated to be higher during the first part of 2015 and will taper off during the latter part of the year. Production guidance of 135,000 to 145,000 ounces during 2015 is maintained. We anticipate that costs will trend higher as we continue to use additional cyanide.

The operating teams achieved tremendous production results at both operations, setting us up well in terms of achieving our full year goals in 2015. These goals are: continuing to focus on our core principles of safe and efficient operations, meeting production goals and targets, controlling costs and advancing and adding value to our portfolio of development projects."

FIRST QUARTER 2015 El CASTILLO OPERATING STATISTICS

3 Months Ended March 31
2015 2014 % Change
Mining (Tonnes 000s)
Total tonnes mined 6,693 7,829 -15%
Total ore tonnes mined 2,811 3,666 -23%
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 +%
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%
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.

FIRST QUARTER 2015 LA COLORADA OPERATING STATISTICS

3 Months Ended March 31
2015 2014 % Change
Mining (Tonnes 000s)
Total tonnes mined 3,027 4,603 -34%
Total ore tonnes mined 483 560 -14%
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)1 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%
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.

Richard Rhoades, Chief Operating Officer of Argonaut Gold, said, "At El Castillo, we are pleased that we were able to deliver solid production results. In spite of an unusually rainy first quarter, which resulted in five days of lost production, we were able to maintain a safe and efficient mine. We began adding a higher cyanide concentration on the pads and have achieved higher recovery from the leach pads. We are looking to further optimize the mine during the second quarter to enhance our margins.

At the La Colorada Mine, with the expansion projects completed last year, the first quarter resulted in a second consecutive quarter of record production. The crushing circuit continues to process greater than 12,000 tonnes per day, and we are set up to continue to deliver strong results. The added flexibility of reprocessing leach pad material from the historic leach pads, and mining the main La Colorada/Gran Central pit, should provide the operational flexibility to more effectively manage operations and costs."

2015 Development and Growth

Development project updates

  • Drilling of 36 holes for over 9,900 metres completed at Magino. Focusing on the extension of mineralization onto the Richmont ground and infill drilling of the main area of the current resource.
  • Ongoing negotiations for land and preparation of Environmental Impact Assessment at San Agustín.

Peter Dougherty said "At Magino, ongoing drilling is promising and a full set of assay results are expected to be released during the second quarter. This information will be used to define a new resource and Preliminary Economic Assessment. At San Agustín, we are continuing to prepare for the submission of permits and are encouraged by our ability to realize additional upside potential through future drilling programs. We continue to invest time and resources in order to move the San Antonio project forward. The Company believes in the social and economic benefits of the San Antonio project, and continues to patiently pursue permits through the 2015 election cycle."

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, 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.

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 the La Colorada Mine in Sonora, Mexico. Advanced exploration stage projects are the San Antonio project in Baja California Sur, Mexico, the Magino project in Ontario, Canada and the San Agustín project in Durango, Mexico. The San Agustín and Magino projects will be the primary exploration targets for Argonaut in 2015. The Company also has several exploration stage projects, all of which are located in North America.

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 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; the timing and amount of estimated future production; 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; the realization of mineral reserve estimates; costs of production; 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, risks relating to international operations, failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated fluctuating metal prices and currency exchange rates, changes in project parameters, changes in market conditions, the possibility of project cost overruns or unanticipated costs and expenses, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry. 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.

Qualified Person, Technical Information and Mineral Properties Reports

Technical information included in this release was supervised and approved by Thomas Burkhart, Argonaut Gold's Vice President of Exploration, and a Qualified Person under National Instrument ("NI") 43-101.

For further information on the Company's material properties, please see the reports as listed below on the Company's website 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, 2011 and with an effective date of October 15, 2011
San Agustín Project NI 43-101 Technical Report and Preliminary Economic Assessment on the San Agustín Heap Leach Project, Durango, Mexico dated February 19, 2015 and with an effective date of October 3, 2014
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

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