Argonaut Gold Inc.
TSX : AR

Argonaut Gold Inc.

October 15, 2014 07:30 ET

Argonaut Gold Announces Q3 Production of 32,122 Gold Equivalent Ounces

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 15, 2014) - Argonaut Gold Inc. ("Argonaut", "Argonaut Gold" or the "Company") (TSX:AR), announced today that the Company produced 32,122 gold equivalent ounces ("GEOs" or "GEO") during the third quarter ("Q3") ended September 30, 2014. This included 22,980 GEOs at its 100% owned El Castillo Mine ("El Castillo") located in Durango, Mexico and 9,142 GEOs at its 100% owned La Colorada Mine ("La Colorada") located near Hermosillo, Mexico. Additionally, the Company reported record GEOs loaded to the pads in Q3, which will be reflected in the fourth quarter ("Q4") production numbers.

3rd Quarter
2014 2013 Change
Total Gold Equivalent Ounce Production:
GEOs loaded to the pads1 69,777 46,086 +51 %
GEOs projected recoverable ounces1,2 41,296 26,590 +55 %
GEOs produced1 32,122 27,893 +15 %
GEOs sold1 29,917 32,044 -7 %
1 GEOs are based on conversion ratio of 55:1 for silver to gold and is the referenced ratio throughout this release.
2 Recoverable ounces - see tables titled Third Quarter 2014 El Castillo Operating Statistics and Third Quarter 2014 La Colorada Operating Statistics.

THIRD QUARTER 2014 HIGHLIGHTS:

At both mines, operational improvements resulted in record GEOs being loaded to the pads. These improvements made in the third quarter are expected to result in significantly increased gold and silver production being realized in the fourth quarter, which has been demonstrated in first days of October. Tonnes mined and processed continue to show steady improvement year over year. However, seasonal rains during the third quarter caused dilution of the leaching solutions, thereby reducing the recovered ounces. Due to these seasonal effects, the Company is adjusting full year production guidance to 130,000 to 135,000 GEOs, from previous guidance which was at the lower end of the range of 135,000 to 150,000 GEOs. Management anticipates higher production in the fourth quarter, as the Company begins to recover the record ounces loaded during the third quarter coupled with drier weather.

El Castillo

  • GEO production of 22,980 ounces consisting of 22,807 gold ounces and 9,541 silver ounces. Production for the third quarter was affected by the rainy season which caused dilution of solution grades.
  • A record 44,031 gold ounces loaded on the leach pads, equating to 27,214 projected recoverable gold ounces. Solution grades have steadily increased in October as a result of drier weather, which is expected to result in production improvements during Q4.
  • Mining:
    • 7,714,185 total tonnes mined, an 18% improvement year over year.
    • The gold grade of 0.34 grams per tonne ("g/t"), was a 9% improvement over the previous quarter and slightly better than the mine plan.
    • Strip ratio decreased to 0.9:1 for the quarter, consistent with the mine plan expectations.
    • Oxidized ore mined in the quarter was 89% of the total ore mined.
  • Processing: Operation of the east and west crushing and conveying systems continued to improve with approximately 1.5 million tonnes moved on both circuits individually.
  • Construction: West side leach pad cell 3b construction was finalized.

La Colorada

  • GEO production of 9,142 ounces, consisting of 8,870 gold ounces and 14,958 silver ounces.
  • A record 21,195 gold ounces and 250,322 silver ounces were loaded to the leach pad, equating to 25,746 GEOs loaded to the pad. This represents a 35% increase in gold ounces loaded to the pad versus the previous quarter.
  • Crushing/Processing:
    • Another quarterly record was set with 1,067,946 tonnes placed on the pad, a 21% improvement over the previous quarter.
    • During September, a record of over 13,700 tonnes of crushed ore per day was loaded to the leach pad, exceeding the anticipated 12,000 tonnes per day.
    • During October, the Company has seen a steady improvement in the grade of the solution from the pad yielding gold production of more than 150 ounces per day since the beginning of the month.
    • The strip ratio of 4.6:1 was in line with the previous quarter and expectations.

Magino

  • New targets for future exploration have been identified on ground related to the recently finalized transaction with Richmont Mines Inc.
  • Permitting documentation and studies continue to advance on the project; permit applications are expected to be submitted around the end of the year.

San Antonio

  • The Company continues to pursue activities to move forward a project that is mutually beneficial to all stakeholders by engaging in dialogue with the local communities, local and federal agencies, as well as reviewing its legal options.

San Agustín

  • Phase II drill program of approximately 13,000 metres to be positioned on 200 metre spacing has begun. The area defined for exploration at San Agustín follows the trend of mineralization for upwards of two kilometres from east to west and is approximately 0.5 kilometres wide from north to south.
  • The Company released a National Instrument ("NI") 43-101 Technical Report on the current resource on October 3, 2014 and anticipates issuing a Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") by year end.
  • Metallurgical test work conducted internally by Argonaut was completed. Initial results from external tests completed at Kappes, Cassiday & Associates ("KCA") were reported previously in the Press Release dated August 22, 2014. Below are the results of the remaining tests. These additional tests were conducted at Argonaut's El Castillo mine metallurgical testing facilities under the guidance of KCA. In addition, there are two duplicate columns reported that were conducted by KCA in their facilities in Reno, Nevada.
Summary Table of San Agustín Test Results provided by KCA

Crush Size, millimetre ("mm"), 100% Passing
Average Results of Test Work Previously Reported in Press Release Dated August 22, 2014 1
Average Results of Test Work Reported In This Press Release
Overall Average of All Argonaut Test Work 2
Gold ("Au") Silver ("Ag") Au Ag Au Ag
ROM 3 56 % 11 % 56 % 11 %
50 65 % 16 % 66 % 17 % 65 % 16 %
12.5 70 % 24 % 72 % 28 % 71 % 26 %
Note 1 - See Argonaut San Agustin Press Release dated August 22, 2014 for previously reported test work results.
Note 2 - Overall average is weighted by the number of tests in each group.
Note 3 - Run-of-Mine ("ROM")
Detailed Table of San Agustín Test Results provided by KCA

Sample Description
Crush Size, mm
100% Passing

Head Grade
Recovery
Percentage
Leach
Time
Hydrated Lime
Consumption
Cyanide
Consumption
Au
g/t
Ag
g/t
Au Ag Days kg/t1 kg/t
SAT 1 - Intrusive ROM 0.445 20.31 68 % 13 % 105 3.2 0.66
SAT 2 - Intrusive ROM 0.236 10.00 44 % 2 % 98 3.1 0.56
SAT 3 - Intrusive ROM 0.452 9.41 58 % 15 % 98 3.2 0.58
SAT 4 - Sediments ROM 0.620 3.90 55 % 14 % 78 3.0 0.56
Average All 56 % 11 % 3.1 0.59
Note 1 -kilograms per tonne ("kg/t")

Sample Description
Crush Size, mm
100% Passing

Head Grade
Recovery
Percentage
Leach
Time
Hydrated Lime
Consumption
Cyanide
Consumption
Au
g/t
Ag
g/t
Au Ag Days kg/t kg/t
SAT 1 - Intrusive 50 0.394 22.20 84 % 20 % 105 3.8 1.54
SAT 2 - Intrusive 50 0.284 8.85 63 % 5 % 98 3.6 0.87
SAT 3 - Intrusive 50 0.410 9.07 45 % 13 % 90 3.7 1.23
SAT 4 - Sediments 50 0.644 4.41 72 % 28 % 72 3.1 1.19
Average All 66 % 17 % 3.6 1.21

Sample Description
Crush Size, mm
100% Passing

Head Grade
Recovery
Percentage
Leach
Time
Hydrated Lime
Consumption
Cyanide
Consumption
Au
g/t
Ag
g/t
Au Ag Days kg/t kg/t
SAT 1 - Intrusive 12.5 0.422 25.14 82 % 28 % 113 4.0 1.49
SAT 1 - Intrusive (KCA Duplicate) 12.5 0.477 18.46 83 % 35 % 69 3.0 0.70
SAT 2 - Intrusive 12.5 0.247 9.99 61 % 8 % 106 3.9 1.05
SAT 3 - Intrusive 12.5 0.691 11.29 76 % 28 % 98 4.0 1.32
SAT 3 - Intrusive (KCA Duplicate) 12.5 0.473 5.80 61 % 34 % 69 3.1 1.02
SAT 4 - Sediments 12.5 0.645 3.90 71 % 36 % 80 3.3 1.27
Average All 72 % 28 % 3.6 1.14

CEO Commentary

Pete Dougherty, President and CEO for Argonaut Gold commented, "At both mines, we continue to demonstrate improvements in all aspects of our operations. In spite of challenges related to seasonal rains, these operational improvements have set new records of GEOs loaded to the pads and laid the groundwork for robust fourth quarter production results. While operational improvements have been noteworthy, we expect that full year production will be in the range of 130,000 to 135,000 GEOs.

"At El Castillo, we completed the construction of west cell 3b pad and are hitting targets for mining and crushing throughputs with a new record being set in September for the west overland crusher/conveyor. At La Colorada, we continue to make improvements with new record GEOs being loaded to the pad. During September, crushing throughput exceeded expectations at La Colorada averaging over 13,700 tonnes per day.

"The fourth quarter production is expected to significantly increase at both locations as we begin to recover the ounces loaded during the third quarter.

"The San Agustín project has not disappointed with the release of our recent NI 43-101 indicated resource results of nearly 1.3 million gold equivalent ounces (82.2 million tonnes of material at a grade of 0.32 g/t gold and 10.7 g/t silver with gold equivalent ounces calculated at a ratio of 65:1 silver to gold ounces) and we are quite pleased. We have initiated additional drilling to test the limits of the deposit and started to work on a PEA for the project, which we anticipate will be complete by year end.

"We continue to work toward permitting at both San Antonio and Magino. We have begun further test work to understand the potential of heap leaching at the Magino project as well as advancing the permitting efforts. At the San Antonio project, we continue to make efforts to advance this project, as we believe it has near term potential to unlock significant value to all stakeholders of this project."

THIRD QUARTER 2014 EL CASTILLO OPERATING STATISTICS
3 Months Ended 9 Months Ended
September 30 September 30
2014 2013 % Change 2014 2013 % Change
Mining
Tonnes ore (000s) 4,059 3,406 +19 % 11,492 9,857 +17 %
Tonnes waste (000s) 3,655 3,136 +17 % 12,343 9,567 +29 %
Tonnes mined (000s) 7,714 6,542 +18 % 23,835 19,424 +23 %
Tonnes per day (000s) 84 71 +18 % 87 71 +23 %
Waste/ore ratio 0.90 0.92 -2 % 1.07 0.97 +10 %
Heap Leach Pad
Tonnes ore direct to leach pad (000s) 1,063 1,867 -43 % 2,569 5,307 -52 %
Tonnes crushed (000s) 1,499 1,318 +14 % 4,612 4,314 +7 %
Tonnes overland conveyor (000s) 1,497 221 +577 % 4,311 221 +1,851 %
Total Tonnes Placed 4,059 3,406 +19 % 11,492 9,842 +17 %
Production
Gold grade (g/t)1 0.34 0.36 -6 % 0.33 0.36 -8 %
Gold loaded to leach pad (oz)2 44,031 39,120 +13 % 121,307 115,312 +5 %
Projected recoverable gold ounces (oz)3 27,214 22,829 +19 % 70,916 67,766 +5 %
Gold produced (oz) 22,807 22,756 +0 % 64,824 73,957 -12 %
Gold sold (oz) 20,527 25,840 -21 % 63,725 72,054 -12 %
1 "g/t" refers to grams per tonne
2 "oz" refers to troy ounce
3 Expected recovery rates: ROM oxide 50%, crushed oxide 70%, ROM transition 40%, crushed transition 60%, crushed sulphides argillic 30%, crushed sulphides silicic 17%.

Richard Rhoades, Chief Operating Officer for the Company, commented, "We are pleased to have another quarter of continued improvement at El Castillo. Ore tonnes mined increased, along with tonnes and ounces loaded to the pad, despite the effects of the summer rains. The availabilities of the mining and crushing equipment increased and the operation is poised to deliver a strong finish to the year. With these improvements, along with the completion of west side heap leach pad 3b, we are in a position to increase our production run rates and deliver on the guidance at this project of 90,000 to 100,000 ounces of production this year."

THIRD QUARTER 2014 LA COLORADA OPERATING STATISTICS
3 Months Ended 9 Months Ended
September 30 September 30
2014 2013 % Change 2014 2013 % Change
Mining
Tonnes ore (000s) 757 415 +82 % 2,017 1,313 +54 %
Tonnes waste (000s) 3,486 2,885 +21 % 10,674 10,485 +2 %
Total tonnes (000s) 4,243 3,300 +29 % 12,691 11,798 +8 %
Waste/ore ratio 4.61 6.96 -34 % 5.29 7.99 -34 %
Tonnes rehandled (000s) 301 118 +155 % 616 118 +422 %
Heap Leach Pad
Tonnes ore direct to leach pad (000s) 1,068 550 +94 % 2,583 1,435 +80 %
Production
Gold grade mined (g/t)1 0.70 0.35 +100 % 0.66 0.30 +120 %
Gold loaded to leach pad (oz)2 21,195 5,571 +280 % 47,658 13,509 +253 %
Projected recoverable GEOs loaded (oz)3 14,082 3,761 +274 % 31,555 9,173 +244 %
Gold produced (oz) 8,870 4,234 +109 % 24,853 15,527 +60 %
Silver produced (oz) 14,958 31,717 -53 % 111,761 121,914 -8 %
GEOs produced (oz) 9,142 4,811 +90 % 26,885 17,744 +52 %
Gold sold (oz) 8,883 4,952 +79 % 25,146 15,935 +58 %
Silver sold (oz) 18,313 50,881 -64 % 123,607 132,951 -7 %
GEOs sold 9,217 5,878 +57 % 27,394 18,353 +49 %
1 "g/t" refers to grams per tonne
2 "oz" refers to troy ounce
3 Expected recovery rates: Gold 60% and Silver 30%

Richard Rhoades commented, "Following the completion of the expansion of the crushing circuit at La Colorada, we set record highs with September crushed production over 13,700 tonnes per day. The grade processed also improved slightly over last quarter and is slightly above the resource grade. All of this contributed to a significant increase in ounces loaded to the pad. We expect strong fourth quarter production results."

Argonaut Gold Q3 Financial Results Conference Call and Webcast:

The Q3 financial results conference call and webcast is scheduled to take place on November 6, 2014 at 8:30 am EST.

Q3 Conference Call Information
Toll Free (North America): 1-877-223-4471
International: 1-647-788-4922
Conference ID: 87196199
Webcast: http://www.argonautgold.com/
Q3 Conference Call Replay:
Toll Free Replay Call (North America): 1-416-621-4642
International Replay Call: 1-800-585-8367

The conference call replay will be available from 11:30 am EST on November 6, 2014 until November 20, 2014.

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, and a qualified person as defined by NI 43-101. For further information on the Company's 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.
La Colorada Mine
NI 43-101 Preliminary Economic Assessment La Colorada Project, Sonora, Mexico dated December 30, 2011.
Magino Gold
Project
NI 43-101 Technical Report and Mineral Resource Estimate on the Magino Gold Project, Wawa, Ontario, Canada dated January 30, 2014.
San Agustín
Project
NI 43-101 Technical Report and Mineral Resource Estimate on the San Agustín Gold Project, Durango, Mexico dated October 3, 2014.
San Antonio Gold
Project
NI 43-101 Technical Report and Mineral Resource Estimate on the San Antonio Gold Project, Baja California Sur, Mexico dated October 10, 2012.

Qualified Person Comments/Quality Control Procedures

Mineral resources do not constitute mineral reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability.

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 include the San Antonio project in Baja California Sur, Mexico, the San Agustín project in Durango, Mexico and the Magino project in Ontario, Canada. The recently acquired San Agustín project is the primary exploration target for Argonaut in 2014. 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 preliminary announcement of production results will be followed with a report of financial results in connection with the publication of quarterly financial information. 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; 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; the timing and amount of estimated future production; economics of production; synergies and financial impact of completed acquisitions; 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, failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated, 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.

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.

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