According to him, an extensive programme of exploration and production optimisation will be carried out in 2017, together with starting ore production from a new open pit at the Ugur deposit, by the end of the year: “Ore mined from the open pit has recently had a lower gold grade and a higher percentage of copper than ore previously mined. It was therefore decided to carry out an extensive programme of exploration and production optimisation to better understand the distribution of copper in the ore body and to define the resource and reserve. Mining will therefore be temporarily stopped in the open pit in Q2 2017, and during the remainder of 2017 approximately 15,000 metres of drilling will be carried out, in furtherance of this programme. It is anticipated that mining from the open pit will recommence in Q1 2018”.
"Whilst we undertake this exploration and optimisation throughout the remainder of 2017, we will understandably see a reduction from the level of gold production seen in the past two years, and this has been reflected in our gold production target for the year. However, this will be offset by increasing production of copper and we are confident that the initiatives that we are taking this year will provide the foundation of future sustained growth and development of the Company. "I look forward to updating our shareholders on our progress throughout 2017", Vaziri added.