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Anglo Asian Mining on road to profitability

Shares are up around 245% since the end of January to stand at 18.125p as it advances the flagship Gedabek operation.
Anglo Asian Mining cheering market as it travels road to profitability
The underground Gadir mine at Gedabek started producing last year.

A glance at Anglo Asian Mining Plc's (LON:AAZ) share price chart over the last six months shows the progress with which the market is crediting the gold miner and signs are looking up for the rest of the year too.

Shares in the Azerbaijan-focused firm are up around 245% since the end of January as it continues to make strides at its flagship Gedabek operation.

The recovery ball started to get rolling last year and 2015 saw record gold production, as it generated around 72,000 ounces for the whole year, a 19% increase on 2014.

There was also the launch of a new small flotation plant for copper and gold in the third quarter, which added to revenue, along with a concerted effort to lower costs and make operating efficiencies.

Significantly, production costs in the  year were reduced to an impressive US$724 per  ounce from US$971 per ounce - a trend, albeit not to that extent, the firm is determined to continue in 2016.

The year also saw the group reduce its debt position to US$49mln from US$52.4mln- no mean feat when one considers it built a small plant.

And the miner is now looking to further reduce its debt from cash flow generated in 2016..

In terms of the final numbers, the loss before tax in 2015 reduced to US$8.9million from US$14.4mln in 2014, while revenues grew to $78.1 million (2014: $68mln).

An asset portfolio in Azerbaijan

The firm's key properties span 1,000 sq km. Gedabek started production in 2009 in Western Azerbaijan. The underground Gadir at Gedabek started producing last year.

A second underground mine - Gosha - is 50 kilometres north-west of Gedabek, while Ordubad is an early stage gold-copper exploration property located in the Nakhchivan region.

Firm sees pick-up in output for rest of 2016

As the group told an AGM at the end of last month, it is confident of achieving its targeted 73,000 to 77,000 gold ounces for full year 2016 and 1,700 to 2,100 tonnes of copper.

It comes as the second quarter (to June 30) has seen a pick-up in output after  a first quarter, which was blighted by heavy snow and lower grade ore.

Second quarter gold production to end June was rose to 19,665 ounces compared to 14,172 in the first quarter of 2016. Copper came in at 537 tonnes (Q1: 432t) and 56,440 ounces of silver were generated, compared to 34,342 ounces in Q1.  

Bill Morgan, the finance chief recently repeated that confidence in an interview with Proactive,  outlining that production will be aided by a full year's worth of the new flotation plant, adding 4-5,000 ounces of gold, and 2,100 tonnes of copper.

He also cited the devaluation of the Azerbaijan Manat against the US dollar at the end of last year, which is set to reduce operating costs by around $13mln for 2016.

And he pointed to the higher gold sale prices the firm should achieve due to the strength of the yellow metal currently.

Gold, the famous safe haven asset, has gained around 25% this year alone.

Significantly, the firm recently took advantage of the recent strength of the  yellow metal to hedge around half of its of its forecast sales for the rest of 2016.

The minimum sale price per ounce will be US$1,200  and the maximum US$1,426 under the deal, which the firm called a "win win" transaction.

A new SAG mill for the third quarter

Another factor sure to influence output this year will be the final commissioning of a new SAG (grinding) mill in the third quarter, which will increase throughput.

"We are confident on the outlook for 2016 and delivery of our strategy to return your company to profitability. I would like to note that the market appears to be watching these achievements and I have been greatly encouraged to see the recent rise in Anglo Asian's share price," chief executive Reza Vaziri told the June AGM.

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