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Press release from Marketwire

Argonaut Gold Announces Record Production, Record Revenue and Record Earnings for the Second Quarter of 2012

Record Revenue of $37.5 Million, Net Income of $11.3 Million and Basic Earnings Per Share of $0.12

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Argonaut Gold Announces Record Production, Record Revenue and Record Earnings for the Second Quarter of 201207:30 EDT Wednesday, August 15, 2012TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 15, 2012) - Argonaut Gold Inc. (TSX:AR) (the "Company", "Argonaut Gold" or "Argonaut") is pleased to announce its financial and operating results for the Second quarter ended June 30, 2012. All dollar amounts are expressed in United States dollars unless otherwise specified. SECOND QUARTER 2012 & RECENT HIGHLIGHTS FinancialsRevenue of $37.5 million ($21.6 million in Q2 2011). Net income of $11.3 million, $0.12 per basic share. Cash flows from operating activities before changes in non-cash operating working capital and other items of $16.4 million ($7.6 million in Q2 2011). Cash on hand was $21.4 million at June 30, 2012.Production and CostOunces loaded to pads: El Castillo: 35,220 ounces (up 19% from Q2 2011). La Colorada: 10,173 gold ounces and 1,120,716 silver ounces. Production of 24,123 gold ounces in the second quarter of 2012. El Castillo: 19,533 gold ounces (up 12% from Q2 2011). La Colorada: 4,590 gold ounces and 25,796 silver ounces.Overall cash cost per gold ounce sold: $620.Operational Improvements:Capital expenditures of $12.8 million on mineral properties, plant and equipment.El CastilloConstruction completed on west side leach pad 7A. Conveying and stacking system on the east side pad in place.La ColoradaNew crusher purchased for production of overliner for pad construction. Desorption and refinery circuit fully commissioned. New warehouse for reagent storage completed. Final permits for mining expansion expected in third quarter. Approximately half of Phase 1 run of mine material has been reprocessed. New pad construction started on pads 8, 10 and 11.Exploration:El Castillo - Sulphide samples obtained for continued metallurgical test work with results expected in fourth quarter. La Colorada: 24 holes totaling 12,670 metres drilled in Q2; 78 holes totaling near 28,000 metres drilled in 2012. San Antonio: 4 holes totaling 678 metres drilled in Q2; 4,000 metres drilled thus far in 2012.This press release should be read in conjunction with the Company's unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements for the second quarter ended June 30, 2012 and associated management's discussion and analysis ("MD&A") which are available from the Company's website, www.argonautgold.com, in the "Investors" section under "Financial Filings", and under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.Three months ended June 30,Six months ended June 30,Financials20122011Change20122011ChangeRevenue ($ millions)$37.5$21.6+74%$61.9$47.3+30%Net income ($ millions)$11.3$5.2+117%$18.6$11.1+67%Income per share - basic$0.12$0.06+100%$0.20$0.13+54%Income per share - diluted$0.11$0.06+83%$0.18$0.13+38%Cash flow from operating activities before changes in non-cash operating working capital and other items ($ millions)$16.4$7.6+116%$24.5$16.9+45%Gold ounces sold23,24714,331+62%37,74532,792+15%Gold ounces produced24,12317,453+38%45,00735,467+27%Average realized gold sales price$1,600$1,507+6%$1,630$1,440+13%Overall Cash cost per gold ounce sold$620$578+7%$627$585+7%Financial Results - Second Quarter 2012During the second quarter of 2012, revenue was $37.5 million from gold sales of 23,247 ounces compared to $21.6 million from sales of 14,331 ounces in the second quarter of 2011. Cost of sales was $19.3 million for the quarter compared to $11.0 million for the second quarter of 2011. Cash cost per gold ounce sold was $620 compared to $578 in the same period of 2011. (Cash cost per gold ounce sold is a non-IFRS measure, see note below). During the second quarter of 2012, gross profit was $18.2 million compared to $10.6 million gross profit in the second quarter of 2011. During the quarter, profit from operations was $15.9 million compared to $8.8 million for 2011. Net income for the quarter was $11.3 million or $0.12 per basic share versus $5.2 million or $0.06 per basic share in 2011. Cash on hand increased from $17.8 million at March 31, 2012 to $21.4 million at June 30, 2012. Capital expenditures in the second quarter were $12.8 million primarily as a result of expanding operations at the El Castillo and La Colorada mines. The 2012 capital expenditures and exploration program for Argonaut Gold includes $38-$48 million at El Castillo, La Colorada and San Antonio which includes pre-production stripping at La Colorada of approximately $6 million. Cash flow from operations before changes in non-cash operating working capital and other items was $16.4 million during the quarter, compared to $7.6 million for the second quarter of 2011. The cash flow provided by operating activities in the quarter was $18.3 million.CEO CommentaryMr. Pete Dougherty, Argonaut's President and CEO states: "The Company saw important improvements made at both El Castillo and La Colorada during the quarter. At El Castillo, a new stacking and conveying system has been implemented, with the potential to increase tonnes moved in the pit. In addition, construction on pad 7A was completed. To date, there is capacity to stack approximately 6.7 million tonnes on the west side and approximately 25 million tonnes capacity on the east pads."In regards to La Colorada, Mr. Dougherty added: "Reprocessing material at La Colorada has continued with positive results to date. Preparations at the site continue in anticipation of receiving final permits for full scale mining in the third quarter. Upon receiving permits, necessary developments and construction will lead to full scale mining around year end. During the quarter, the Company commissioned the new gold recovery circuit at La Colorada. This will allow more efficient processing of metal for all our Mexican operations."Looking forward, we are awaiting permit notifications at La Colorada and are working towards permits for San Antonio. Both permits represent significant milestones for the Company. Operations are running smoothly and we anticipate meeting our full year guidance."El Castillo Operating Statistics3 Months Ended June 30,6 Months Ended June 30,20122011% Change20122011% Change Mining Total tonnes mined5,037,4014,970,835+1%11,002,3259,730,293+13%Tonnes ore mined2,506,7562,786,349-10%5,557,2835,324,613+4% Heap Leach Pad Direct ore tonnes to pad1,533,1881,920,657-20%3,717,0803,733,6680%Crushed ore tonnes to pad1,164,340860,289+35%2,002,7181,589,393+26% Production Gold grade (g/t)0.410.33+24%0.380.34+12%Gold loaded to pad (oz)35,22029,555+19%71,50357,780+24%Gold loaded to carbon (oz)19,53317,453+12%37,33235,467+5%Gold sold (oz)17,94914,331+25%32,44732,792-1%(1)"g/t" is grams per tonne(2)"oz" means ounceEl Castillo Summary of Production ResultsTotal tonnes mined in the second quarter 2012 were consistent with 2011 accomplishments. Of note, there was a 35% increase in crushed tonnes during the second quarter of 2012 over the second quarter of 2011. The total ounces loaded to the pad were 35,220 in the second quarter; a 19% increase over the second quarter of 2011. The strip ratio of waste to ore was 1.01 compared to a strip ratio of 0.78 in the second quarter of 2011.Year to date, El Castillo has produced 37,332 ounces of gold at a cash cost per ounce sold of $635. Third quarter production is expected to be 20,000-21,000 ounces, while 2012 guidance remains at 75,000 to 80,000 ounces for a cash cost between $625 and $650 per gold ounce.3 Months EndedLa Colorada Operating StatisticsQ2 2012Q1 2012% ChangeYTD 2012 Mining Total tonnes moved840,241678,310+24%1,518,551Ore tonnes moved805,611678,310+19%1,483,921 Heap Leach Pad Crushed ore tonnes to pad743,533680,396+9%1,423,929 Production Gold grade (g/t)0.430.41+5%0.42Gold loaded to pad (oz)10,1738,886+14%19,059Gold loaded to carbon (oz)4,5903,085+49%7,675Silver loaded to carbon (oz)25,79617,182+50%42,978Gold sold (oz)5,2980NA5,298(1)"g/t" is grams per tonne(2)"oz" means ounceLa Colorada Summary of Production ResultsApproximately half of the Phase 1 material to be reprocessed has been recrushed and restacked for leaching. Construction has begun on pads 8, 10 & 11 and one half of the total stacking capacity is expected to be completed in the third quarter. During the third quarter the crusher will be down for approximately one month as it is relocated to a more permanent location, near the new pads currently under construction.The next steps at La Colorada will involve reprocessing loose material in the pit, followed by full scale processing of newly mined material by the first quarter of next year. Year to date, the Company has produced 7,675 gold ounces at a cash cost per ounce sold of $578. Due to the crusher relocation, the third quarter production expectations are approximately 3,000 ounces of gold. 2012 guidance at La Colorada remains at production of 13,000-17,000 ounces with a cash cost between $625 and $650 per gold ounce.Permitting Status update at San AntonioArgonaut has received notice that the environmental permit application has been denied, without objection to the substance of the application, by SEMARNAT. SEMARNAT requires amendment of the underlying zoning, a process Argonaut had already begun. Argonaut is engaged with the local communities and government agencies in addressing the zoning. The Company continues to pursue all necessary permits for the San Antonio project.Looking Forward - 2012:Third QuarterSan Antonio - Preliminary Economic Assessment will be released in the near term and will include an updated resource with revisions to the capital expenditures and operational costs for the project. La Colorada - Permits necessary for construction to expand mining operations are expected in the third quarter. Near term projects will include new heap leach pad construction. Fourth QuarterSan Antonio - The Company continues working towards permits for the project. La Colorada - Construction to expand to full scale mining will be initiated, dependent on receiving final permits.Non-IFRS MeasuresThe Company included the non-IFRS measure "Cash cost per gold ounce sold" in this press release to supplement its financial statements which are presented in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"). Cash cost per gold ounce sold is equal to cost of sales excluding depreciation, depletion and amortization less silver sales divided by gold ounces sold. The Company believes that this measure provides investors with an improved ability to evaluate the performance of the Company. Non-IFRS measures do not have any standardized meaning prescribed under IFRS. Therefore they may not be comparable to similar measures employed by other companies. The data is intended to provide additional information and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS. Please see the MD&A for full disclosure on non-IFRS measures.Technical Information and Mineral Properties ReportsThe technical information contained in this document has been prepared under supervision of, and reviewed and approved by Mr. Thomas H. Burkhart, Argonaut's Vice President of Exploration, and a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101"). For further information on the Company's properties please see the reports as listed below on the Company's website or on www.sedar.com: El Castillo MineNI 43-101 Technical Report on Resources and Reserves, Argonaut Gold Inc., El Castillo Mine, Durango State, Mexico dated November 6, 2010La Colorada MineNI 43-101 Preliminary Economic Assessment La Colorada Project, Sonora, Mexico dated December 30, 2011San Antonio Gold ProjectTechnical Report and Mineral Resource Estimate on the San Antonio Gold Project, Baja California Sur, Mexico dated June 30, 2011La Fortuna PropertyLa Fortuna, Durango, Mexico, Technical Report dated October 21, 2008About Argonaut GoldArgonaut is a Canadian gold company engaged in exploration, mine development and production activities. Its primary assets are the production-stage El Castillo Mine in the State of Durango, Mexico, the La Colorada Mine in the State of Sonora, Mexico, the advanced exploration stage San Antonio project in the State of Baja California Sur, Mexico, and several exploration stage projects, all of which are located in Mexico.Creating Value Beyond GoldCautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking StatementsThis news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause results to differ materially from management's current expectations. Actual results may differ materially due to a number of factors. Except as required by law, Argonaut Gold Inc. assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking information contained in this news release.FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Nichole CowlesArgonaut Gold Inc.Investor Relations(775) 284-4422 x 101nichole.cowles@argonautgold.comwww.argonautgold.com