Turquoise Hill Resources has increased its 2016 gold production guidance at the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in Mongolia to reflect accessing of more high-grade gold benches in phase two of the open pit.

The company estimates that 2016 gold production will be in the range of 255,000 oz to 285,000 oz, up from its original guidance of 210,000 oz to 260,000 oz. This follows strong first quarter production results with concentrator throughput reaching a quarterly high as well as better-than-expected gold production.

Turquoise Hill CEO Jeff Tygesen said, “We are increasing 2016 gold production guidance to reflect the mine accessing more of the final, high-gold benches in phase two of the open pit. Also during the quarter, Oyu Tolgoi surpassed 2 million mt of concentrate shipped.”

During the March quarter, concentrator throughput increased 3.1% over the previous quarter resulting in average throughput of approximately 106,000 mt/d.

Concentrate production in the quarter remained high resulting from increased throughput and strong copper grades.

Copper production reached a quarterly high, increasing 0.5% over the previous quarter to 57,600 mt. The company continues to expect Oyu Tolgoi to produce 175,000 mt to 195,000 mt of copper in concentrates for 2016.

Gold production declined approximately 30% over the December quarter to 144,000 oz due to lower grades and the near-completion of mining in phase two of the open pit. Mining of the phase two gold ore is expected to be complete in the current quarter.

Silver production totaled 395,000 oz, up from 355,000 oz in the previous quarter.

The company sold 51,200 mt of copper concentrates in the quarter, 175,000 oz of gold and 305,000 oz of silver. Copper recovery was 85.6%, gold recovery 72.2% and silver recovery 66.4%.

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