- Ariana Resources has provided its first operational update on the Kiziltepe mine within the Red Rabbit gold-silver project in Western Turkey. Kiziltepe is being advanced towards production through a 50:50 joint venture with Proccea Construction Co. Highlights: -Process CIL/CIC and ADR piping and electrical work fully completed, with the process plant ready for operational start-up; automation works are continuing.

- Commissioning of ball mill is complete and wet commissioning of the process plant is largely complete, with thickener tests due to be completed this week.

- Dry commissioning has been completed and the crushers and screens are now fully operational.

- Approximately 7,000 tonnes of ore ranging in grade from 2.7 to 0.5 g/t gold and representing two weeks of production, is stockpiled ready for the first full-scale tests and start-up.

- Dam wall complete and installation of geomembrane for Stage 1 Tailings Storage Facility is largely complete, though currently experiencing delays due to unprecedented weather conditions.

- Revisions to resource and reserve estimates are ongoing following recent drilling; an improved mining plan and associated scheduling is underway.

- Mine site laboratory is now operational with capability for routine Aqua Regia digests and fire assay. Managing director Dr. Kerim Sener said: "Following a productive site visit conducted in the last few days, we are very encouraged to report that the Kiziltepe Mine is now largely operational, following the successful completion of major construction in December. Dry and wet commissioning of the process plant, including the CIL tanks and thickeners, is almost complete, although deteriorating and unprecedented weather conditions during the latter part of December and in to January have now delayed completion of the TSF.

"The conditions being encountered at site have ranged from very wet weather in late December to sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall in early January, which have negated the laying of the final geomembrane for the Stage One TSF, which comprises only another two weeks of work. Previous guidance provided by the Company had indicated that Kiziltepe was likely to become operational in late December but the timing of start-up has now been necessarily postponed due to the conditions at site.

"As the TSF completion is a critical path component of the project, we cannot provide further guidance on formal start-up until the weather clears and the conditions for laying geomembrane improve. In particular, the temperatures for laying geomembrane must exceed five degrees Centigrade. In the meantime, our teams are working on all other operational aspects to ensure a smooth transition in to production once the TSF is able to be completed. We will provide a further update on project progress before the end of January."

Story provided by