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Press release from PR Newswire

AuRico Reports 35% Increase in Production From North American Assets

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

AuRico Reports 35% Increase in Production From North American Assets03:00 EDT Wednesday, April 11, 2012TORONTO, April 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --- TSX: AUQ / NYSE: AUQAuRico Gold Inc. (TSX:AUQ) (NYSE: AUQ), ("AuRico" or "the Company") is pleased to report preliminary operational results from its key North American assets for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012. All amounts are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise indicated.First Quarter and Recent Highlights - AuRico North AmericaProduction of 45,528 gold ounces and 1.112 million silver ounces, or 67,068 gold equivalent ounces using the actual gold equivalency ratio of 52:1, a 35% increase over 2011.Cash costs of $601 per gold equivalent ounce, using the actual gold equivalency ratio of 52:1.Realized margins of $1,109 per ounce, or 65%.Wet commissioning at the Young-Davidson mine has been completed and ore processing commenced on March 22. Leach tanks have been filled, carbon was added on March 5 and cyanide was added on March 7. The SO2 plant for cyanide destruction is currently in the final commissioning stage. Continuous operations are about to be initiated with a first gold pour anticipated later this month. Open pit mining rates during March averaged 22,870 tonnes per day of ore and waste, with a target of 35,000 tonnes per day by the end of the second quarter. Approximately 700,000 ore tonnes (approaching four months mill feed) have already been stockpiled as at March 31st.During the first quarter, underground re-sequencing continued at Ocampo with grades ramping up to targeted levels at the end of March. The underground mine reported a record average of 2,307 tonnes per day during the quarter. With the re-sequencing now complete, underground production is expected to remain at targeted levels during the remaining three quarters.El Chanate reported record production for the quarter, which was achieved through the productivity enhancements of the Company's expansion program that was completed at the end of Q1. During the quarter, the mine reported an average crushing and stacking rate of 19,136 tonnes per day. With the planned expansion program completed at the end of Q1 2012, operations are targeting crushing and stacking rates of 21,000 tonnes per day over the remaining quarters in 2012.On March 27, 2012, the Company announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement with Crocodile Gold Corp. ("Crocodile Gold") pursuant to which Crocodile Gold will acquire the Company's Stawell and Fosterville mines located in Australia for total consideration up to CAD$105 million. The transaction is expected to close on, or about, May 1, 2012."During the first quarter, AuRico achieved many milestones including commencement of the commissioning process at our newest mine, Young-Davidson, completing our second expansion at El Chanate, completing the resequencing of the underground operations at Ocampo and announcing the disposition of the Australian assets," stated René Marion, Chief Executive Officer. He continued, "With four operating mines in North America, AuRico is now poised to grow production quarter over quarter in 2012 by up to 90% by year-end. The increase in quarterly production in 2012 will underpin a peer-leading 105-146% growth profile over the next three years and positions the Company as a leading gold producer focused in North America."Operational Results AuRico Gold North America Q1 2012 Q1 2011 Gold ounces produced 45,528 25,882 Silver ounces produced 1,112,384 1,035,174 Gold equivalent ounces produced (realized)(1) 67,068 49,854 Total cash costs per gold equivalent ounce (realized) $601 $382 Gold equivalency ratio(2) 52:1 43:1 Gold ounces sold 44,036 26,031 Silver ounces sold 1,091,883 1,060,306 Gold equivalent ounces sold (realized)(1) 65,215 50,681 Gold equivalent ounces produced (55:1)(3) 65,754 44,703 Gold equivalent ounces sold (55:1)(3) 63,889 45,309 Total cash costs per gold equivalent ounce (55:1)(3)(4) $613 $427  (1) Gold equivalent ounces include silver ounces produced / sold converted to a gold equivalent, based on the ratio of the realized sales prices of the commodities.(2) Silver ounce equal to one gold ounce.(3) Gold equivalent ounces include silver ounces produced /sold converted to a gold equivalent, based on the long-term gold equivalency ratio of 55:1. (4) Cash costs for the Ocampo mine, El Cubo mine, and on a consolidated basis are calculated on a per gold equivalent ounce basis. Cash costs for the El Chanate mine are calculated on a per gold ounce basis, using silver revenues as a by-product cost credit. Three months ended March 31/12 Ocampo El Chanate El Cubo Q1 2012 Q1 2011 Gold eq. oz. produced (realized)(1) 39,377 19,093 8,598 67,068 49,854 Gold eq. oz. sold (realized) (1) 35,333 18,661 11,221 65,215 50,681 Total cash costs per gold eq. oz. (realized)(1)(2) $537 $409 $1,119 $601 $382 Margins per gold eq. oz. (realized) $1,163 $1,314 $578 $1,109 $1,004 Gold eq. oz. produced (55:1)(3) 38,310 19,093 8,351 65,754 44,703 Gold eq. oz. sold (55:1)(3) 34,315 18,661 10,913 63,889 45,309 Total cash costs per gold eq. oz. (55:1)(2)(3) $553 $409 $1,151 $613 $427 Margins per gold eq. oz. (55:1) $1,147 $1,314 $546 $1,097 $958  (1) Gold equivalent ounces include silver ounces produced / sold converted to a gold equivalent, based on the ratio of the realized sales prices of the commodities.(2) Cash costs for the Ocampo mine, El Cubo mine, and on a consolidated basis are calculated on a per gold equivalent ounce basis. Cash costs for the El Chanate mine are calculated on a per gold ounce basis, using silver revenues as a by-product cost credit.(3) Gold equivalent ounces include silver ounces produced / sold converted to a gold equivalent, based on the long-term gold equivalency ratio of 55:1.  2012 Quarterly Operational GuidanceAs previously announced, the Company has provided quarter by quarter guidance on estimated production and cash costs for North America as summarized in the table below. Q1 2012 Q2 2012 Q3 2012 Q4 2012 Total 2012 Production Gold eq. oz. Gold eq. oz. Gold eq. oz. Gold eq. oz. Gold eq. oz. Ocampo 36,000-38,000 50,000-56,000 47,000-53,000 47,000-53,000 180,000-200,000 El Chanate 18,000-20,000 20,000-22,000 20,000-23,000 20,000-23,000 78,000-88,000 El Cubo 9,000-10,000 11,000-13,000 13,000-16,000 14,000-18,000 47,000-57,000 Young-Davidson - 15,000-17,000 23,000-27,000 27,000-31,000 65,000-75,000 Total 63,000-68,000 96,000-108,000 103,000-119,000 108,000-125,000 370,000-420,000 Q1 2012 Q2 2012 Q3 2012 Q4 2012 Total 2012 Cash Costs Per Gold eq. oz. Per Gold eq. oz. Per Gold eq. oz. Per Gold eq. oz. Per Gold eq. oz. Ocampo $510-$540 $425-$455 $440-$470 $500-$530 $465-$495 El Chanate $410-$440 $475-$505 $455-$485 $455-$485 $450-$480 El Cubo $1,000-$1,100 $800-$830 $650-$675 $644-$669 $750-$780 Young-Davidson - - $450-$550 $450-$550 $450-$550 Total $560-$585 $475-$500 $475-$500 $490-$515 $500-$525  (1) Production and cash costs for the Ocampo mine, El Cubo mine, and on a consolidated basis are calculated on a per gold equivalent ounce basis. Gold equivalent production and cash costs are based on a gold equivalency ratio of 55:1 unless otherwise indicated.(2) Cash costs for the Young-Davidson and El Chanate mines are calculated on a per gold ounce basis, using by-product revenues as a cost credit.   Production includes gold ounces only.(3) Anticipated cash costs at the Young-Davidson mine do not include pre-production ounces reported prior to the declaration of commercial production.(4) The following currency assumptions were used to forecast 2012 estimates:? 12:1 Mexican pesos to the US dollar? 1:1 Canadian dollars to the US dollar(5) See the Non-GAAP Measures section on page 26 of the Management's Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2011. About AuRico GoldAuRico Gold is a leading Canadian gold producer with a diversified portfolio of high quality mines and projects in North America. Following the divestiture of the Australian assets, and the imminent achievement of first production at Young-Davidson, the Company will have 4 operating properties including the Ocampo mine in Chihuahua State, the El Chanate mine in Sonora State, and the El Cubo mine in Guanajuato State. The exciting Young-Davidson gold mine in northern Ontario is expected to reach commercial production by the third quarter of this year and ramp-up to over 200,000 ounces of annual production by 2015. AuRico's strong project pipeline includes several advanced development opportunities in Mexico and British Columbia as well as a number of highly prospective exploration properties. AuRico's head office is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.Cautionary StatementCautionary Note to US Investors - The United States Securities and Exchange Commission permits US mining companies, in their filings with the SEC, to disclose only those mineral deposits that a company can economically and legally extract or produce. This press release uses certain terms, such as "measured", "indicated" and "inferred" "resources", that the SEC guidelines strictly prohibit US registered companies from including in their filings with the SEC. The term "resources" does not equate to the term "reserves" and U.S. investors are cautioned not to assume that any part or all of the minerals in these categories will ever be converted to reserves. US Investors are urged to consider closely the disclosure in AuRico Gold's Annual Report on Form 40-F, which may be secured from AuRico Gold, or from the SEC's website at http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml.No stock exchange, securities commission or other regulatory authority has approved or disapproved the information contained herein.Certain statements included herein, including information as to the future financial or operating performance of the Company, its subsidiaries and its projects, constitute forward-looking statements. The words "believe", "expect", "anticipate", "target", "continue", "estimate", "may", and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements regarding anticipated future financial and operational performance, the ability of the Company to achieve its guidance for production, cash costs, capex for 2012, 2013 and 2014 and its exploration expenditures for 2012, the ability to continue to fund expansion and exploration operations through cash flows, the ability of the Company to optimize and expand its operations and development projects through capital expenditure, the ability of the Company to complete its expansion studies in a timely manner and to achieve positive results therefrom, the ability to realize the perceivedbenefits of the acquisition of Capital Gold and Northgate, and the anticipated divestiture of the Australian assets, the ability of Young-Davidson to commence production by the end of Q1 2012 and to achieveover200,000 ounces of annual production by 2015 and to meet the timelines for the commencement of mill processing, the ability to accelerate underground production at Young-Davidson, the ability to increase mining rates at Young-Davidson, the ability of the Company to achieve its targets for the continued expansion and development of Ocampo and El Chanate, the ability to improve infrastructure and productivity at El Cubo, the future price of gold and silver and the ratio of their prices, the de-risking of operations, future exploration results of the Company's exploration and development programs and the success of the Company's exploration approaches, the Company's ability to delineate additional resources and reserves as a result of such programs, statements regarding the Company's financial exposure to litigation, targets, estimates and assumptions in respect of gold and silver production and prices, operating costs, results and capital expenditures, mineral reserves and mineral resources and anticipated grades, recovery rates, future financial or operating performance, margins, operating and exploration expenditures, costs and timing of completion of the Ocampo expansion program and improvements to the heap leach pad, costs and timing of the development and commencement of production of new deposits, costs and timing of construction, costs and timing of future exploration and reclamation expenses including, anticipated results for the periods set out within, operating performance projections for the periods set out within, the Company's ability to fully fund its business model internally, gold and silver production for the periods set out within and the cash and operating costs associated therewith, the ability to achieve productivity and operational efficiencies, and the timing of each thereof. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by the Company, are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties and contingencies. The operating and financial performance of the Company will be affected by changes in the actual gold equivalency ratio realized for the periods set out within. Many factors could cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements made by, or on behalf of, the Company. Such factors include, among others, known and unknown uncertainties and risks relating to additional funding requirements, reserve and resource estimates, commodity prices, hedging activities, exploration, development and operating risks, illegal miners, political and foreign risk, uninsurable risks, competition, limited mining operations, production risks, environmental regulation and liability, government regulation, currency fluctuations, recent losses and write-downs, restrictions in the Company's loan facility, dependence on key employees, possible variations of ore grade or recovery rates, failure of plant, equipment or process to operate as anticipated, accidents and labour disputes. Investors are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and, accordingly, investors are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements due to the inherent uncertainty therein.For further information please visit the AuRico Gold website at http://www.auricogold.com or contact:Scott Perry Chief Financial Officer AuRico Gold Inc. +1-647-260-8880Anne Day Director of Investor Relations AuRico Gold Inc. +1-647-260-8880SOURCE AuRico Gold Inc.