Fresnillo tops gold production targets

Mexican miner Fresnillo said gold production had exceeded expectations in 2012 after its Noche Buena mine performed better than forecast.

Mexican miner Fresnillo said gold production had exceeded expectations in 2012 after its Noche Buena mine performed better than forecast.

The annual gold production of 473,034 ounces, up 5.4% year on year, was above the 460,000 ounce target, also aided by the ramp-up at the Saucito mine.

However, the record haul over the year was in contrast to fourth quarter results, when gold production was down 20.6% on the 2011.

This was mainly due to slower recovery at Soledad-Dipolos, causing an increase in the inventories of gold contained at the pads, as well as lower ore grades at Herradura.

The firm said silver production reached 41Moz, in line with its guidance, as the ramp-up at Saucito offset an anticipated natural drop in silver ore grade at its Fresnillo mine.

Quarterly attributable silver production was 10.6Moz, slightly above the fourth quarter of 2011.

Looking to 2013, the company expects silver production to remain stable at 41Moz, while gold production continue to grow to reach 490,000 ounces.

Its exploration budget is to be increased to $270m, up 15% on the $234m spent in 2012.

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