Avion Gold Corporation

Avion Gold Corporation

April 06, 2011 08:00 ET

Avion Announces Production in Q1-20,270 Ounces

100,000 Ounces of Gold Planned for 2011

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 6, 2011) - Avion Gold Corporation (TSX:AVR)(OTCQX:AVGCF) ("Avion" or the 'Company') is pleased to announce first quarter of 2011 production of approximately 20,272 ounces of gold from its Tabakoto/Ségala operations in Mali, West Africa. This is less than Avion's recent first quarter guidance of 21,000 ounces due to a lubrication problem in the ball mill gearbox that developed on March 27. Management believes that its quarterly guidance would have been met or exceeded had the gearbox problem not developed.

It took seven days to repair the gearbox. Avion is confident that the gearbox will operate normally in the future, and has implemented procedures to avoid a recurrence of this issue.

During the first quarter of 2011, the Company milled 180,800 tonnes of ore at an average grade of 3.64 g/t Au, with a 96.2% mill recovery.

Commenting on the first quarter 2011 production numbers, Avion's Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Andrew Bradfield, stated: "The guidance of 100,000 ounces of gold for 2011 has not changed. Management is confident that Avion will be able to make up the slight shortfall experienced in the first quarter. Underground development in Tabakoto ore is ahead of plan and ore from the Dioulafoundou open pit is reconciling well with the geologic model now that we have mined past the area affected by artisanal mining."

Preparations are continuing to start underground development of the Ségala deposit in the second quarter of 2011. As well, Avion is working on its National Instrument 43-101 reserve technical report, scheduled for issue in the second quarter. The Company also continues on plan and budget for its plant expansion project to increase processing capacity from 2,000 tonnes per day to 4,000 tonnes per day. A civil works contractor from Burkina Faso is currently mobilizing to site in preparation for the expansion construction.

Andrew Bradfield, P.Eng., the Chief Operating Officer of the Company, and a qualified person under National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed the scientific and technical information in this press release.

About Avion Gold Corporation

Avion is a Canadian-based gold mining company focused in West Africa that holds 80% of the Tabakoto and Ségala 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. Production sustainability will continue to be supported and enhanced by an aggressive 2011 drill program over an approximately 600 km2 exploration package that both surrounds and is near to the Company's existing mine infrastructure. The current mineral resources estimate for the Tabakoto project demonstrates several sources of excellent grade open pit and good grade underground mineral resources thus providing significant flexibility for Avion's future mining plans. Additionally, the 1,670 km2 Houndé exploration property in Burkina Faso continues to return promising results. These properties are subject to a preliminary US$ 10 million dollar, approximate 60,000 metre, drill-focused, exploration program in 2011. Avion continues to progress towards its medium term goal of 200,000 ounces of gold per year and a longer term goal of organic growth through development of its exploration properties. The Company is developing an underground mine at the Tabakoto deposit, and is preparing to mine underground at the Ségala deposit. Avion has a highly skilled management team, with a focus on growth and consolidation within West Africa.

Cautionary Notes

The ability of Avion to increase production to 200,000 ounces of gold per year has not been the subject of a feasibility study and there is no certainty that the proposed expansion will be economically viable.

This press release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking information includes, without limitation, statements with respect to the timing and amount of estimated future production, the development potential and timetable of the Tabakoto, Ségala, Kofi and Houndé projects; the future price of gold; the estimation of mineral resources; conclusions of economic evaluation (including scoping studies); the realization of mineral resource estimates;, development and exploration; costs of future activities; capital and operating expenditures; success of exploration activities; mining or processing issues; currency exchange rates; government regulation of mining operations; and environmental risks. Generally, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved". Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to those risks described in the annual information form of the Company which is available under the profile of the Company on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.

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