Atna Reports Increased Gold
Production and Lower Costs at Briggs Mine
Atna Reports Increased Gold Production and
Lower Costs at Briggs Mine
Golden, CO -- Atna Resources Ltd. ("Atna") -- (TSX:ATN -- OTCBB:ATNAF) is pleased to
report increased production and reduced unit costs at the Briggs Mine in
Inyo County, California for the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2010.
.. Gold sales for the fourth quarter 2010 increased 26% from third
quarter to 7,800 ounces or 36% over the preceding nine month average.
.. Gold recovered to carbon increased by 36%
over the third quarter to 8,100 ounces or 37% over the preceding nine
.. Total tons mined increased by 7% to 2.9
million short tons from the third quarter or 19% over the preceding nine
.. Unit cash cost of production for the fourth
quarter was $878 per ounce, a 15% reduction over the third quarter and a
10% reduction over the preceding nine month average.
.. Gold sales revenue was $30.4 million for full year 2010.
.. Gold in dor� produced for full year
2010 totaled 25,100 ounces.
.. Estimated recoverable gold in inventory was
13,585 ounces at year end.
"We are continuing to see improved performance at our Briggs mine,
and are confident that further productivity and operating cost
improvements will be achieved. A combination of factors caused our 2010
results to be less than we expected. We have resolved many of the issues
that affected the mine's performance and anticipate that these
improvements will allow us to meet or exceed our 2011 production
targets," states James Hesketh, President
The 2011 operating plan for Briggs is expected to produce approximately
35,000 to 39,000 ounces of gold at an average cash cost for the year of
between $750 and $820 per ounce produced. Approximately 60 percent of the
gold produced for the year will be produced in the second half of 2011
under this plan. According to the plan, we will crush and place on the
leach pad approximately 2.8 million tons of ore containing 46,000 ounces
of gold. The waste stripping ratio is projected to be 3.3 tons of waste
per ton of ore. This plan will increase the mining rate, while crushing
rates remain the same. An additional haul truck and expansion of the
leach pad will be required to accomplish this plan.
Construction of a 7.5 million ton expansion to the leach pad has
commenced. This project, due for completion in April 2011, is sufficient
to meet the life-of-mine stacking requirements and would allow Briggs to
complete the current life-of-mine operating plan if we add no additional
mineral reserves from our ongoing exploration activities.
All outstanding gold option hedge contracts for Briggs were closed out in
2010. The only remaining gold sales commitments are related to the 2009
Gold Bond facility that committed approximately 3,160 ounces per year at
a price of $1,113 per ounce in installments over the remaining three
years of the Bond facility.
Cash cost of production averaged $878 per ounce for the fourth quarter
and $948 per ounce for full year 2010. Cash costs for 2010 and the fourth
quarter bore period costs related to higher than average strip ratio. For
full year 2010, the strip ratio was 3.3, while in the fourth quarter the
strip ratio was 3.8. The Briggs mine plan, including 2011, is front end
loaded with high waste stripping requirements due to deposit geometry.
The remaining life-of-mine strip ratio is 2.1 which should result in
lower future cash costs.
Other factors that impacted operating costs in 2010 were increased costs
for diesel fuel, lime, and steel, and poor availability of timely
equipment parts from equipment vendors. We have assurance from the
equipment vendors that these part supplies issues will be resolved in
2011. Our major equipment vendors have provided consignment inventories
of spare parts to help mitigate this issue in the future.
Another factor contributing to high unit costs at Briggs was a poor
reconciliation of mined ore to the mine model as mining progressed from
the upper BSU pit through a peripheral transition zone to the lower Main
Briggs pit. This issue resulted in the development of fewer ore tons than
anticipated, reducing ore deliveries to the crusher and ultimately
resulting in lower gold production than projected. Mining has progressed
through this zone and the reconciliation of actual results to model is
now performing as expected. Additional infill and step-out drilling at
Briggs in 2011 will provide a better understanding of the peripheral
zones in the mine model and may increase reserves.
For additional information on Atna Resources
and the Briggs Mine, please visit our website at www.atna.com.
This press release contains certain "forward-looking
statements," as defined in the United States Private Securities
Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and within the meaning of Canadian
securities legislation. Forward-looking statements are statements that
are not historical fact. They are based on the beliefs, estimates and
opinions of the Company's management on the date the statements are made
and they involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Consequently, there
can be no assurances that such statements will prove to be accurate and
actual results and future events could differ materially from those
anticipated in such statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to
update these forward-looking statements if management's beliefs,
estimates or opinions, or other factors, should change, unless required
by law. Factors that could cause future results to differ materially from
those anticipated in these forward-looking statements include: gold
production and operating costs at the Briggs Mine, the Company might
encounter problems such as the significant depreciation of metals prices;
accidents and other risks associated with mining exploration and
development operations; the risk that the Company will encounter
unanticipated geological factors; the Company's need for and ability to
obtain additional financing; the possibility that the Company may not be
able to secure permitting and other governmental clearances necessary to
carry out the Company's exploration and development programs; and the
other risk factors discussed in greater detail in the Company's various
filings on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) with Canadian securities regulators and
its filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including
the Company's 2009 Form 20-F dated March 26, 2010.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:
James Hesketh, President and CEO - (303)
Valerie Kimball, Investor Relations - toll free (877) 692-8182