16 km WNW of SALMON
February 24, 2003
Reno-based Meridian Gold earned USD41.5 million, or 48 cents a share, on revenue of USD133.6 million for 2002, up from USD38.7 million on revenue for USD115.4 million for 2001. Meridian attributed the higher earnings to a higher realized gold price of USD315 per ounce versus USD283 per ounce in 2001. For the fourth quarter 2002, Meridian earned USD10.7 million, or 11 cents a share, on revenue of USD34.6 million, down from USD12.3 million on revenue of USD31.9 million for the corresponding 2001 period. For the year, Meridian produced 436,346 ounces of gold, at a cash cost of USD87 per ounce, up from 434,585 ounces, at a cash cost of USD83 an ounce, during 2001. Higher cash costs were attributed to higher mining costs at Jerritt Canyon. During the fourth quarter, Meridian produced 107,413 ounces, at a cash cost of USD93 an ounce, down from 117,499, at a cash cost of USD80 an ounce, during the corresponding 2001 quarter. During the quarter, Meridian sold 107,824 ounces of gold, 6% lower than the corresponding 2001 period attributed to decreased production at El Penon due to a few days of scheduled maintenance. Annual gold production at the Jerritt Canyon and El Penon mines increased from 2001 levels, Jerritt Canyon at a higher and El Penon at a lower cash cost of production. For the fourth quarter, gold production at the Jerritt Canyon mine was higher and El Penon low at lower and higher cash costs, respectively, quarter-on-quarter. Gold production at the company's Beartrack mine decreased year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter. For 2003, Meridian expects to produce about 320,000 ounces of gold from El Penon at a cash cost of less than USD55 per ounce. Production from Jerritt Canyon is expected to be 90,000 ounces at a cash cost of USD270 per ounce.
December 31, 2002
The mine was fully depleted and is on a care and maintenance mode.
In 2001 and 2002, residual leaching of ore was to continue for several years on a declining basis.
During the Q1/01, 5600 oz gold were produced. These ounces of gold were taken against the reclamation and closure accruals, as will all future Beartrack production. Leaching should continue to produce recoverable gold over the next few years on a declining basis.