Azerbaijan-focused gold, copper and silver producer Anglo Asian Mining posted an operations and production update for its Gedabek mine in western Azerbaijan on Thursday.
The AIM-traded firm said that, for the six months to 30 June, gold production totalled 33,837 ounces, down from 35,938 ounces in the first half of the prior year.
Copper production more than doubled to 969 tonnes, from 481 tonnes at the same time last year, and silver production was exponentially larger at 90,782 ounces, compared with 6,477 ounces.
Anglo Asian said its target production for the year to 31 December remains at between 73,000 ounces and 77,000 ounces of gold and 1,700 to 2,100 tonnes of copper.
On the sales side, second quarter gold dore sales reached 15,661 ounces at an average of $1,265 per ounce, compared with first quarter sales of 12,058 ounces at $1,184 per ounce.
Second quarter copper concentrate shipments to the customer totalled 1,582 dry metroc tonnes with a sales value of $3m - excluding the Azerbaijan government's profit share - up from 1,330 dry metric tonnes in the first quarter and a sales value of $2.1m.
Anglo Asian said 18,000 ounces of gold sales in the second ha;d are now hedged at no cost, with minimum and maximum sales prices of $1,200 and $1,426.
In operations, the firm said its second SAG mill is expected to be operational by early August, and contracts for a water treatment plant and avaporation equipment have now been executed.
A contract to build an electrical substation and associated overhead lines has also been executed with completion expected by the end of 2016, leading to anticipated annual savings of $1.8m to $2m from 2017 onwards.
New underground equipment is also now fully deployed, Anglo Asian Mining said.
Net debt was reduced during the second quarter, to $40.8m on 30 June compared with $47.5m on 31 March.
"We are delighted to report these highly encouraging second quarter production numbers which show a substantial increase over the first quarter," said Anglo Asian CEO Reza Vaziri.
"The second half of the year has historically been our best performing half due to the seasonally better weather and our production will also benefit from the second SAG mill which is due to start operating next month.
"We are therefore confident of meeting our production target for 2016 of between 73,000 and 77,000 ounces of gold and 1,700 to 2,100 tonnes of copper," Vaziri said.
He explained that the company is continuing to invest at Gedabek both to improve the sustainability of the operation and to lower costs, to further enhance its operational and financial performance.
"In addition to the second SAG mill, two other major initiatives were undertaken in the first half.
"The first initiative is to purify water from the tailings dam so it can be released into the environment and the second is to use cleaner and cheaper electric power from the grid," Vaziri said.
"These will both be highly beneficial for your company and also lower costs."
Vaziri said the new underground equipment at Gadir is also improving productivity, with the investments undertaken while the company has also significantly reduced net debt.
"The company also took the opportunity to hedge some future gold sales due to the recent strength in the gold price resulting from the uncertainty of the UK's EU referendum decision.
"This protects the company against any significant downside in the price of gold whilst still giving us considerable exposure to any further increases in this volatile gold market," Vaziri commented.
"This is the first time Anglo Asian has hedged gold sales and this transaction therefore marks another stage in the development of your company."