By Nigar Orujova -- AzerNews

A tank-leaching plant has been fully commissioned at the large Gadabay gold, copper and silver mine in Azerbaijan.

Anglo Asian Mining, a company extracting precious metals in resource-rich Azerbaijan, said that the plant is expected to increase gold production and mine life at Gadabay, while lowering operating costs.

According to the company, the first batch of gold produced at the plant will be available within 48 hours from the time of commissioning.

Anglo Asian Mining President Reza Vaziri said that owing to the launch of the new enterprise, the company plans to increase gold production by 20 percent to 60,000 ounces in 2013 and to 80,000-90,000 ounces in 2014.

"By processing the ore from our flagship Gadabay mine in the new plant we expect to significantly ramp up production in 2013 whilst substantially lowering operating costs to circa $500 per ounce of gold, which should set us apart from many of our peers, and improve our profit margin for this year and beyond," Vaziri said.

The new plant, which is designed to process 100 tons of ore per hour, will process ore and resources not suitable for heap leaching - a method of obtaining gold from ore that is currently in use at the field. Vat leaching technology allows extraction of more than 90 percent of gold contained in treated ore, compared to about 70 percent obtained through heap leaching.

According to preliminary estimates, gold recovery at the plant is expected to reach 85 percent in oxide ore and 69 percent in sulfide ore.

Anglo Asian Mining plc is a cash generative and profitable gold and copper mining and exploration company, which started gold and silver production in May 2009 and copper concentrate production in 2010 at the Gadabay mine.

In 2012, the company produced 50,215 ounces of gold, 20,133 ounces of silver and 502 tons of copper from the Gadabay field.

The company has the rights to develop six deposits in the south-west of Azerbaijan -- Gadabay, Ordubad, Gosha Bulag, Gyzyl Bulag, Vezhnali and Soyutlu, under a production sharing agreement signed in August 1997 with Azerbaijan's government.

The gold and silver produced there are sent to Switzerland for refining, and gold bars are delivered to the country and preserved by the government.

(Source: AzerNews - www.azernews.az)