Ariana Resources (AAU.L) has published the preliminary production results at its Keziltepe gold mine in Turkey where it has beat its guidance with a very handsome 12% as it produced almost 3,000 ounces more than the 25,000 ounces it anticipated to produce.

The fourth quarter was also quite strong as although the mill processed ‘just’ under 55,000 tonnes of rock, the mining operations are right on track with a production of 74,000 tonnes of rock from the open pit at an average grade of 3.59 g/t gold (which is however lower than the 4.42 g/t gold that has been processed during the fourth quarter).

Ariana hasn’t provided a 2020 production guidance yet as the company is currently compiling an updated resource estimate for the Keziltepe property and the future mine plan may be changed depending on the results of the new resource. We also hope to see the strip ratio coming down a bit as although the strip ratio dropped from 22 (not a typo) in Q3 2019 to just below 15 in Q4 but that is still very high. The high average grade does make up for it, but let’s see if the new resource will allow for Ariana to put a more efficient mine plan together. With less than 20% of the vein system drilled out to date, the Keziltepe mine could host more gold than what’s currently included in the mine plan.

Disclosure: The author has no position in Ariana Resources.

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