Anglo Asian Mining PLC's full-year 2018 production came in at the upper end of its guidance range as output from its Gedabek mine in Azerbaijan rose, despite a drop during the fourth quarter.
Total production grew 17% to 83,736 gold equivalent ounces in 2018, just within the upper end of the company's guidance range of 78,000 to 84,000 ounces and increasing from 71,461 ounces in 2017.
However, fourth-quarter 2018 production at Gedabek totaled 21,945 gold equivalent ounces, 5% lower than the fourth quarter of 2017 and 10% below the 24,412 ounces produced in the third quarter of 2018.
Full-year 2018 copper production dropped 17% to 1,645 tonnes despite an almost fivefold surge in output to 588 tonnes in the fourth quarter. Annual silver production increased 22% to 72,798 ounces as output grew 39% in the fourth quarter to 65,822 ounces.
Anglo Asian's gold bullion sales increased 37% to 59,481 ounces in 2018, excluding the Azerbaijani government's share, but slowed 19% in the final quarter to 15,066 ounces from 18,637 ounces in the previous quarter.
Copper concentrate shipments declined 9.7% in 2018 to 7,675 dry tonnes with a value of US$15.4 million, from 8,499 tonnes in 2017 at US$16.7 million, while more than doubling to 3,774 dry tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2018 from 1,557 tonnes in the third quarter.
The company noted in its Jan. 15 news release that it completed a helicopter survey of the entire 300-square-kilometer Gedabek area. It will use the data to identify new drill targets and deposits. Results are expected in the first quarter.
Anglo Asian, which is targeting additional gold and copper mineral occurrences at Gedabek similar to the Ugur deposit, said the helicopter survey was the first of its kind covering the whole contract area.
A September 2018 estimate for the open pit at Gedabek, which also includes the Ugur open pit and the underground Gadir mine, defined proven and probable reserves totaling 12.1 million tonnes grading 0.9 g/t gold, 0.3% copper and 8.9 g/t silver, representing 343,000 ounces of gold, 36,000 tonnes of copper and 3.5 million ounces of silver.
The company said its net cash more than doubled on a quarterly basis to US$6.1 million as of year-end 2018, from US$2.8 million at the end of the September 2018 quarter. The company paid out US$3.4 million to shareholders with a maiden dividend of 3 U.S. cents per share in November 2018.
Anglo Asian shares were down 6.6% at 86.11 pence per share by early afternoon in London. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange's AIM submarket.