| Question: Are you still on target for production in 2011? Can you give a starting month for commencing production?
Answer: Our strategic plan clearly calls for a return to mine production in 2011, and validation of mineral resources and reserves of at least 3.25 million gold equivalent ounces by 2013. Planning and scheduling each intermediate objective ensures our qualified team is able to execute timely and effectively. We are fully scheduled with a critical chain of tasks supporting the intermediate tasks necessary for commencing production. Yes, we are on track for commencing production in 2011.
Some of the more critical intermediate objectives scheduled for production include: completing development drilling in our Lucerne Resource Area (completed and recently announced); completing initial (bottle roll) metallurgical testing on all relevant material types in all of the starter mine resource areas (completed); completing full heap leach, column simulation metallurgical testing (in progress); finalizing our starter mine and production plans for the Lucerne Resource Area (in progress), including assessing sufficiency of reserve from the Hartford segment of the Lucerne Resource Area, completing Infill drilling in the Dayton (in progress) and East Side Resource Areas (scheduled), finalizing our starter mine and production plans for the Dayton and East Side Resource Areas (scheduled); finalizing metallurgical process and equipment design (primarily crushing plant and metallurgical process stages) (scheduled); finalizing submitted amendments to existing permits (in progress), as required, purchasing and installing new equipment (scheduled), staffing and commencing production (scheduled).
All of the aforementioned activities are either in progress or scheduled for commencement for production in 2011. Again, we do not know exactly what month production will start because the results of certain tasks are unknown (for example, metallurgical testing results will define final material crush sizes and final crushing equipment design) and we must adapt our activities properly before we commit the next necessary capital expenditures for production. Ultimately, this approach saves tremendous time and money and avoids deploying capital poorly or sub-optimally.
Please recall that our starter mine plan in the Lucerne Resource Area is positioned on private land under our existing permits. So far, we are pleased with the progress of our schedules, both in terms of drilling and all other activities progressing us toward production.
Corrado De Gasperis
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