Ariana Resources plc, the exploration and development company operating in Turkey, announces that at its Annual General Meeting, which is to be held at 11am today, Michael de Villiers, Chairman, will make the following statement:
"2018 was an exceptional year for Ariana Resources, as the Company continued to make significant progress at its Red Rabbit Gold Project. In its first full year of commercial production, the Kiziltepe Mine produced 27,110 ounces of gold. This was 36% higher than forecast for the year and it achieved an average operating cash-cost of US$415 per ounce, placing Ariana among the lowest cost quartile of gold producers globally. Following this positive performance last year, we remain on track to hit our 2019 production target of 25,000 ounces of gold. The strong positive cashflow generated from Kiziltepe has enabled the repayment of c.70% of the US$33 million JV construction capital loan to date. Full repayment of this loan is to occur by April 2020.
"There were also a number of important developments during the year at our highly prospective Salinbas Gold Project in north-eastern Turkey. The recent upgrade of one of the key licences to operational status confers our rights to that asset for a further 10 years, allowing us to advance our exploration and development plans, while the remaining two licences await renewal or upgrade to operational status for a further 10 years. We look forward to providing further updates on Salinbas once we have received and assessed the results of the recent drilling programme.
"The rally in the gold price in recent weeks has clearly placed gold and gold miners back on the agenda of investors and market commentators. Pleasingly, this rally is also being reflected in our share price, which has strengthened significantly and is up 60% over the past six months. This creates a robust environment in which the Company can develop its other Turkish gold projects and to reach its goal of achieving production of 50,000 ounces per annum.
"Looking ahead, we are also at an advanced stage of evaluating other interests in the geographic region of Turkey, whilst maintaining our focus on the highly prospective region of the Tethyan Metallogenic Belt. We recognise the importance of diversifying our portfolio partly in to other commodities, and particularly those associated with the development of new technologies, within countries representing low risk profiles. We look forward to updating the market on these developments in due course.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow board members, our management team and employees in Turkey, including those within our JV Company, and our shareholders for their continued support and engagement."