RENO, NV, April 5 /CNW/ - Meridian Gold Inc. ("Meridian Gold" or the
"Company") (TSX:MNG) (NYSE: MDG) is pleased to announce highlights from the
first quarter 2007.
- Consolidated gold production of 70,900 ounces of gold, which exceeded
the Company's internal budgets, and 1.6 million ounces of silver.
- Commencement of mining at the Company's Rossi project with Barrick
- Discovery of approximately 90,000 tonnes of additional mineralized
material in the Millenium Zone, or approximately three months of
production at current rates. This discovery continues to demonstrate
the exploration upside shown at Minera Florida.
- Acquisition of 22 high quality land tenements along the prospective
mineralized trend near the existing Minera Florida operations.
- Initiation of the expansion program at Minera Florida, including:
- The approval of the new flotation circuit, which will increase
- The approval of the purchase of a second ball mill for the
- Further developments at the Company's flagship El Penon mine in
- At Providencia, the tunnel from Dorada was completed and the
vein was cross-cut.
- At Fortuna, the permits were obtained for mining up to
5,000 tonnes per month of ore.
- Key management changes, including the appointment of Stabro
Kasaneva as the new General Manager.
- The initiation of an operational excellence program focused on
the Six Sigma principles.
Consolidated gold production for the first quarter totaled 70,900 ounces
of gold and 1.6 million ounces of silver, which represents a 10% increase in
gold production over the Company's internal budgets. The increase was achieved
at the Company's El Penon mine, where the team produced 55,600 ounces of gold,
a 15% increase over the Company's internal budget and a 10% increase over the
fourth quarter 2006 results.
Production commenced during March at the Company's 40% owned Rossi mine,
a Joint Venture with Barrick Exploration. To date the mine has produced
1,295 tonnes at an average grade of 13 grams of gold per tonne. The official
Mine dedication will be held April 18, 2007, with production ramp-up during
the second half of the year. Meridian's share of planned production is
estimated at 35,000 ounces of gold per annum.
At Minera Florida, the Company commenced the initial phase of the
expansion program to increase the mill capacity from 35,000 tonnes per month
to approximately 65,000 tonnes per month, which is expected to increase gold
production to more than 100,000 ounces annually. The Company has also approved
the purchase and installation of a new flotation circuit designed to increase
metal recoveries. When fully operational the new flotation circuit is expected
to increase gold recoveries by 2%, and both silver and zinc recoveries by 3%
by the end of 2007. During the first quarter the Company also approved the
purchase of an additional ball mill for the grinding circuit, consistent with
the goal of reaching approximately 65,000 tonnes per month through the
processing plant by the end of 2008. At Minera Florida, the Company completed
22 land agreements, further adding to the Company's land position in highly
prospective and previously un-explored areas.
Edgar Smith, Meridian's Vice President of Operations, commented, "I am
pleased to announce that we have re-hired Stabro Kasaneva as the General
Manager of the El Penon Mine. Stabro will be responsible for leading his team
in ramping up the mine to 2,800 tonnes per day and implementing the new
operational excellence initiatives, which are based on the Six Sigma
principles to help achieve these goals. At Minera Florida the discovery of an
additional 90,000 tonnes of mineralized material demonstrates the significant
potential this operation holds for Meridian's future production. This
discovery will provide the operation with greater flexibility and demonstrates
the potential exploration upside for the project."
During the first quarter at El Penon, the development towards the
Providencia vein achieved a major milestone as the tunnel from the southern
end of Quebrada Colorado was completed and the vein was cross-cut. Grades from
the cross cut indicate 16 grams per tonne gold and 1,233 grams per tonne
silver at 1.35 meters width. The Company is also pleased to report that the
mining permits for up to 5,000 tonnes per month were obtained for the Fortuna
vein and production has begun. At Fortuna 1,260 tonnes have been mined and
stockpiled containing 27 grams per tonne gold and 1,300 grams per tonne
"I am extremely pleased with results achieved during the first quarter,
particularly since we anticipate that as El Penon ramps up production to 2,800
tonnes per day, the results for the second half of 2007 should be better than
the first half," commented Ed Dowling, Meridian's President and CEO. "These
first quarter highlights underpin Meridian's commitment to our four point
growth initiative: operational excellence at our operating assets, continued
organic growth through exploration, value creating growth from accretive
acquisition of quality projects, and the constant improvement of our human and
intellectual capital. In closing, I look forward to sharing with our
investment community through future releases all of the events happening at
Meridian Gold as we work towards creating the Premier Value Gold Mining
Meridian Gold Inc. is a different kind of gold company. The focus is on
profitability, and the quality of the ounces produced, not the quantity of
ounces produced. The quality of these ounces is measured by the value
delivered to all stakeholders during the process; including all shareholders,
employees and the communities and environment in which Meridian lives and
Safe Harbor Statement under the United States Private Securities
Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Certain statements in this press release
constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and Canadian securities legislation.
Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties
and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or
achievements of the Company, or other future events, including forecast
production, earnings and cash flows, to be materially different from any
future results, performances or achievements or other events expressly or
implicitly predicted by such forward-looking statements.
For further information:
For further information: please visit our website at
www.meridiangold.com, or contact: Krista Muhr, Senior Manager, Investor
Relations, Tel: (800) 572-4519, Fax: (775) 850-3733, E-mail: