TORONTO, Dec. 28, 2012 /CNW/ - White Tiger Gold Ltd. ("White Tiger" or the "Company") (TSX: WTG) today provided an update of its 2012 production forecast, outlined related actions being taken by the Company and announced that it is in discussions with VTB Capital plc ("VTB Capital") regarding its US$80.0 million loan facility (the "VTB Facility").
2012 Production Forecast
The Company currently expects 2012 gold production at its Savkino Mine of approximately 18,000 ounces instead of the original production target of 20,000 ounces. The production shortfall can be attributed primarily to longer leach times than planned (based on the metallurgical characteristics of ore stacked in the third and fourth quarters of 2012), under-utilization of crushers (due to significant rainfall over the summer) and faulty pit/crusher scales, resulting in less ore being stacked than anticipated. Nevertheless, the average grades from current Savkino operations are currently well in excess of 1.5g/t and we expect our cash costs for 2012 to be approximately $750/ounce. The Company currently has in excess of 29,000 ounces of gold on pad and with the longer
leach times the Company expects an increase in gold production in the first and second quarters of 2013. We are maintaining our 2013 gold production guidance of approximately 48,000 ounces.
Commenting, Jim McBurney, CEO of White Tiger, said "While the Company is disappointed with the 2012 production shortfall we believe the appropriate actions are being taken to ensure that we will develop successfully our Russian assets. The next milestone will be to more than double our production in 2013.
However, as the Company now expects not to meet its December 31, 2012 gold sales covenant under the VTB Facility, we have initiated discussions with VTB to ensure that we will continue to have access to the US$21.0 million remaining under the VTB Facility."
"In the mean time, we will complete the construction, installation and
commissioning of the second crushing and screening unit in January, and install pump stations, complete the expansion of heap leaching pads and finish the construction of new accommodation facilities for the Phase 2 Expansion of the Savkino Mine. As we refocus on our Russian assets we will continue to review operations to ensure that the Company maintains the right capability and structure to deliver value to our shareholders."
Actions Being Taken by the Company
The Company has initiated a comprehensive review of operations at the Savkino Mine, which will be conducted during the first quarter of 2013 and led by Geoff Cowley, the Company's Chief Operating Officer. White Tiger will implement recommendations from the review as appropriate and as soon as practicable. The Company is also undertaking a series of metallurgical tests and is updating its life of mine model for the Savkino Mine.
SOURCE White Tiger Gold Ltd.