-- Total ore mined for March improved to 347 tons per day, producing 2,134 more tons than February's figures as a result of sustained productivity from the backfill program.-- 746 feet of ore was mined, which is 46% more than February, with the mine performing at an average of 5.2 rounds of mining progress per day.-- Ore grades reduced from 0.0101 to 0.0734 in March. This is a consequence of mining areas in the periphery of the deposit, to set-up the ore zones for future mining, and the need to make-up mill feed by using incremental low grade material to keep the mill running.-- Active headings were down from February's number of 7 to the target 6 in March. This was due to the focus on backfilling in order to set-up a more sustainable ore zone cycle of ore production and backfilling.-- The geology, engineering teams and mine management have been focused for the past several months on mine planning. The goal is to ensure a consistent improvement in the head grades fed to the mill through extensive face mapping, sampling, scout drilling and mine planning.-- Short term planning and forecasting has been put in place to prioritize development and mining cycle activities to sustain and ultimately increase production and productivity.-- Work continued on improving the block model to better identify near and long term ore targets.
During March, development was mined in areas that are required for sustainability. A new plan was implemented by the end of March that will focus on developing a loop from the 810 area to the 730 mine area. The 810 to 730 ramp provides the necessary ventilation loop to target and access potential reserves around and adjacent to this ramp. At least two new ore zones will be accessed from this ramp. This ramp will be run near and along strike with the ore body, in the hanging wall, and will allow for multiple ore access points at different levels. This should significantly improve backfill requirements.
Mill recovery during March averaged 80% as a direct result of the reduced grades. The recovery will continue to improve as the grade comes up and is sent to the mill on a more consistent basis.
670 ounces of gold were shipped during March as a result of the change in grade. However in the first ten days of April, over 450 oz were shipped. The increase is a result of the change of focus on planning.
Mr. Brian Kirwin, President & CEO, commented:
"We are starting to see the results from our change in the mining plans and the focus on sustainable production. The addition of our new Mine Manager, Senior Geologist and Controller has reinforced our senior team, and their expertise and positive contributions to the project have been welcomed by all at Copperstone. We will continue to see some irregularities in grade and product through April as we implement our sustainability goals but are committed to catching up on development as quickly as possible and declare commercial production."
Mine and mill performance for the month of April will be announced towards the end of May.
About American Bonanza Gold Corp.: Bonanza is operating the newly constructed Copperstone gold mine in Arizona. For more information please visit Bonanza's website at www.americanbonanza.com.
AMERICAN BONANZA GOLD CORP.
Brian Kirwin, President & Chief Executive Officer