Toronto-based Anaconda Mining (TSX: ANX) said Tuesday that second quarter production thus far at its Pine Cove Gold mine in Newfoundland has exceeded its first quarter levels by 111%, as the company has begun optimizing mill operations.
Though the second quarter is not yet complete, Anaconda has produced approximately 805 ounces of gold to this point in the period, up 111% from the 381 ounces produced in the first quarter of fiscal 2011.
During the optimization phase, however, the company said operations were hampered by operator inexperience and mill down time associated with the replacement of the primary ball mill starter.
Despite these issues, the company has persevered, as over the last two weeks, mill availability has been 96% and average throughput has been approximately 800 dry tonnes per day (tpd).
"We appreciate how the management, employees and suppliers of Pine Cove as well as our shareholders have persevered over the last several months. The fruits of their efforts and patience are finally starting to be realized," said president and CEO Dustin Angelo.
"We are beginning to experience consistency in the operations which will allow us to steadily ramp up our throughput toward 1,000 tonnes per day and introduce higher grade material. With record gold prices, we are anxious to keep pushing production as high as possible."
Anaconda said that while the mill is being optimized, the company has decided to process the lower grade ore in stockpile and reserve the available higher grade ore for processing once all circuits of the plant have completed the optimization phase.
In addition, to improve operations, the company hired a new full-time mill operations superintendent earlier this month, and established the new position of environmental and analytical superintendent to manage the on-site assay lab. Anaconda has also contracted a mining engineering firm to provide support to its in-house mining staff for general mining operations and grade control.
Aside from the Pine Cove mine, Anaconda is advancing the development and exploration of its iron ore portfolio in Chile with its joint venture partner Inversiones SBX Limitada.