BAKU (Reuters) - Azerbaijan’s top gold producer, Anglo Asian Mining (AAZ.L), forecast its gold output would be 64,000-70,000 ounces in 2018, up from 59,617 ounces produced last year, the company said on Tuesday.
The London-listed firm said it expects its total metal production to rise to 78,000-84,000 gold equivalent ounces (GEO) in 2018, up from 71,461 ounces last year.
The company’s gold production fell to 59,617 ounces last year from 65,394 ounces in 2016, copper production rose 2.6 percent to 1,991 tonnes, and silver output rose 4.7 percent to 172,853 ounces.
Anglo Asian said the second half of this year was expected to be better than the first due to seasonal factors and a new flotation processing plant coming on line.
“Key to the future growth of the company will be expansion opportunities and with this objective, we are commencing a substantial geological exploration programme at Gedabek,” Anglo Asian CEO Reza Vaziri said in a statement.
Gold is produced at Gedabek and other Azeri mines under a production venture in which Anglo Asian holds 51 percent and the state the remainder.
Anglo Asian began production at Gedabek, 350 km west of the capital Baku, in July 2009 with plans to extract 22 tonnes of gold. Overall, Anglo Asian plans to exploit seven mines in western Azerbaijan with estimated gold reserves of 430 tonnes.
Reporting by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Louise Heavens