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High Grade Zone Gold Values Up to 12.07 g/t Au Over 12.5 Metres

Avion Gold Corporation is pleased to announce new drill results for the northern end of the Tabakoto pit where NW-trending mineralized structures have been identified and tested.

This area hosts the NW1 and NW2 cross structures (see Figure 1) which have been traced for 50 to 125 metres along strike and to approximately 300 metres depth (see Figures 2 and 3). Intercept highlights of the NW1 and NW2 zones include the following:

  • 12.07 g/t Au over 12.5 metres
  • 3.58 g/t Au over 8.6 metres
  • 2.89 g/t Au over 6.9 metres
  • 5.33 g/t Au over 2.25 metres

The NW1 zone is exposed in the north end of the Tabakoto pit where a channel sample returned 12.4 g/t over 24.4 metres. Drill holes have defined several steep southeast plunging zones. Additional drilling is being carried out to better define the core of these mineralized systems now that the plunge of the zones is defined. A summary of drill hole intercepts is presented in a table at the end of this release.

In addition to the NW1 and NW2 zones, numerous other mineralized zones were intersected. Modeling work is in progress to put these other intercepts into context and develop a testable model. Highlights of these other intercepts are as follows:

  • 8.56 g/t Au over 7.5 metres
  • 67.71 g/t Au over 3.3 metres
  • 24.11 g/t Au over 3.8 metres
  • 275.35 g/t Au over 2.0 metres
  • 3.16 g/t Au over 12.0 metres

The NW1 and NW2 zones lie along a four kilometre long northerly trend that is cut by both northeast- and northwest-trending cross structures that often host high grade gold mineralization. These structures are the focus of Avion’s Tabakoto pit area exploration program and underground mine development at Tabakoto. Exploration in 2010 has focused drilling on seven of these cross-structures, in the immediate Tabakoto pit area. This news release presents the results obtained on the final two structures that were tested. Additional drilling has commenced and will include testing of all seven zones/structures with a continued goal to better define these zones.

John Begeman, Avion’s President and CEO, stated: “It is great to see additional high grade intercepts from the Tabakoto pit area. The strongest of these high grade structures will be the early focus of Avion’s underground development. It is management’s opinion that with the abundance of mineralized structures in the Tabakoto Pit area that more drilling will lead to the definition of more resources which could extend the life of the project.”

In 2010, Avion has completed over 453 core and reverse circulation drill holes totaling approximately 58,160 metres of drilling at its Tabakoto and Hounde properties. This work has focused predominantly on the Dioulafoundou, Tabakoto, Djambaye II, Ségala and Vindaloo areas. Drilling has recommenced on the Houndé property, Burkina Faso, which Avion acquired in October, 2010 (See News Releases dated July 5, 2010 and October 7, 2010) with approximately 4,000 metres of further drilling planned. In addition, drilling is planned for the Kofi property, Mali, which Avion is in the process of acquiring (See News Release dated March 31, 2010) and is expected to be finalized soon.

Assays presented in the attached table have been capped at 32 g/t Au as per the latest technical report on the Tabakoto deposit. Avion’s procedures for handling core have been presented in previous news releases (See for e.g. Avion News Release dated May 13, 2010).

Don Dudek, P.Geo., the Senior Vice President, Exploration of the Company and a qualified person under National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed the scientific and technical information in this press release.

Full release

First Majestic Acquires Surface Rights, Royalties and Infrastructure at Real De Catorce Silver Project

First Majestic Silver Corp. (TSX:FR)(OTCQX:FRMSF)(FRANKFURT:FMV)(WKN:A0LHKJ) (“First Majestic”) is pleased to announce the closing today of the acquisition of all the real estate interestsincluding the original mill and infrastructure and underlying royalties and bonuses which were associated with the Real de Catorce Silver Project in San Luis Potosi State, Mexico.

The total purchase price of US$3,000,000 consists of US$1,500,000 cash and the issuance of US$1,500,000 in common shares of First Majestic equalling 152,798 shares at a deemed price of $9.91 per share based on the volume weighted average of the past five days trading.The package includes title to all of the land underlying the Santa Ana Hacienda located within the Real de Catorce property, together with all associated buildings and certain historic geological and proprietary mining information relating to the project.

The Real de Catorce Silver Mine which was acquired in November 2009, had been subject to a 3% net smelter royalty (“3% NSR”), of which 1.75% could be acquired for a total price of US$1.75 million, if paid prior to March 15, 2014, otherwise the total purchase price would increase to US$2.1 million. In addition, the previous owner (Normabec) had agreed to acquire the surface rights, the buildings located thereon which cover the location of the previous mining operations, and all technical and geological information, in consideration for a single payment of US$1.2 million to be made by December 2010. The Company was also obligated upon commencement of commercial production, to pay an additional US$200,000 to the previous owner.

The acquisition by the Company today replaces the above mentioned total cash payments of between $3.15 and $3.4, with a total purchase price of US$3.0 million in cash and shares, and removes entirely any future NSR on the Real de Catorce project.

The Company is currently evaluating its alternatives for future production in the area,including the evaluation of past exploration worksin order to plan for future underground development, mining and processing plant alternatives. In the meantime, the Company is planning to rehabilitate the Santa Ana Hacienda for the purpose of opening a mining museum to help the community create new jobs and increase the economic opportunities in the area.

The shares issued in this agreement will be subject to a four month hold period from the date of issuance under applicable Canadian securities laws.

First Majestic is a producing silver company focused in Mexico and is aggressively pursuing its business plan to become a senior silver producer through the development of its existing assets and the pursuit through acquisition of additional assets that contribute to achieving its corporate growth objectives.

Full release

Diwali, Dollars and Gold

By Frank Holmes, 10 November

November 5 marked the beginning of Diwali festival in India and the next stage in gold’s seasonal patterns. The five day “Festival of Lights” is a major Hindu holiday and involves the lighting of small clay lamps (diyas) filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. During Diwali, lights illuminate every corner of India and fireworks light up the skies.

Activities during these five days include worship, many feasts, spending time with families and exchanging gifts. The latter is a big driver of gold demand.

Traditionally, Indians are very sensitive to fluctuating gold prices but it appears they are adjusting to the concept of higher gold prices. Last year, China surged ahead of India in terms of jewelry demand until Diwali reignited retail demand in India.

It also didn’t hurt that India’s central bank bought 200 tons of gold around $1,000 an ounce. This put a floor under gold and changed the mentality of retail buyers who had been waiting for a pullback below $1,000. In fact as of June 2010, Indian jewelry demand was only off 2 percent on a year-over-year basis despite gold reaching new record highs. A report from the Bombay Bullion Association says that Indian gold imports rose to 43 tons, an 18 percent increase from the same time last year.

India isn’t the only place that jewelry demand is picking up. According to the World Gold Council’s most recent Gold Demand Trends report, jewelry demand experienced its smallest decline since early 2008 during the second quarter of this year.

Gold as an investment has been grabbing headlines and is certainly a key factor in overall demand. However, demand for gold jewelry is still the king. In 2009, retail investment and ETFs totaled 1,348 tons of gold—39 percent of total demand. However, jewelry demand, which was at its lowest level in 10 years, totaled 1,759 tons—51 percent of total demand.

This is important because as retail buyers of gold grow more accustomed to gold’s current price levels, demand should increase and provide a tailwind for higher prices.

With the Federal Reserve’s announcement of its second quantitative easing (QE2) initiative, it’s a good time to update you on some data I’ve shared with you several times. This chart shows gold’s appreciation in major currencies since 1999. As you can see, currency devaluation has a dramatic effect on gold’s performance in that particular currency.

The past few months have been very rough for the dollar.

Since June 1 through November 5, gold prices have jumped 1.2 percent in Japanese yen terms and 2.6 percent in British pound terms. Gold prices in euro terms have actually dropped 1 percent during that time period.

In dollar terms, it’s a much different story. Gold prices in U.S. dollars have jumped 13.4 percent since June 1. Most of this appreciation came after the Federal Reserve announced its intention for a second round of quantitative easing. The Federal Reserve’s recent announcement was both larger ($600 billion) and longer (until June 2011) than many had anticipated.

The long-term depreciation effect this plan will have on the dollar could be a catalyst for higher gold prices all the way into next summer.
Another upside is a weaker dollar makes high-quality American products more attractive to export. We can expect rising exports over the next six months to help our unemployment numbers and boost our economy.

I wish all a Happy Diwali and the blessings of fortune, luck, riches and generosity.

This article is written by Frank Holmes and with his kind permission, O B Research has been privileged to publish his work on our website. All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor. To find out more about Frank Holmes’ work, please visit:


The Currency War

By Peter Schiff, November 8

As the world awaits another $600 billion flood from Bernanke’s printing press, central bank governors from Brasília to Tokyo are preparing to respond in kind. This is the monetary equivalent of a nuclear war, except instead of radiation, bombs of inflation threaten to make the world economy uninhabitable for saving and productive enterprise.

While much of the attention has been focused on China and accusations that it is a “currency manipulator,” the first shot in this war was clearly fired by the US Federal Reserve. Last month, the Fed came out with a statement that, for the first time ever, said inflation is rising at a rate “below its mandate.” That is, they acknowledged that the deflation threat had passed, that prices were stable – but they still intended to send prices higher.

Since the Bretton Woods Agreement was signed in the wake of World War II, the global monetary system has been based on the US dollar. This means that when the Fed decides to create trillions of dollars of inflation, other countries can’t simply say, “let them dig their own grave.” Instead, because their international transactions are denominated in dollars, they feel a pressure to maintain relatively stable exchange rates between their currencies and the dollar.

Most countries do this informally and have their own (bad) reasons for maintaining a certain level of inflation. China, however, is more literal in its devotion to the dollar system, perhaps due to its psychology as a new arrival on the world stage. So, in recent history, the People’s Bank of China has largely maintained a “peg,” by which it currently offers to pay 6.8 RMB for every dollar deposited, no matter how many extra dollars the Fed prints. To put it another way, China, and to a certain extent the entire world, is on a Dollar Standard — like the Gold Standard, but based on another fiat currency instead of a precious metal.

What this also means is that China does not intentionally devalue its currency against the dollar, but only to keep pace with the dollar. Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said as much in an interview on October 26: “Uncontrolled” issuance of dollars is “bringing China the shock of imported inflation.” Most emerging markets are the same way. In order to prevent rapid economic dislocations, and often to appease their powerful export lobbies, these countries seek to maintain a status quo versus the dollar – whether through inflation as with China or capital controls as with Brazil and South Korea, or both.

In short, the currency war is really just the rest of the world trying to shield itself from a barrage of nuclear dollars.

The end result is that the entire civilized world is locked in a race to inflate, and no fiat currency is truly safe. In my brokerage business, I advise clients to buy companies – not currencies – in countries that I believe will thrive in the war’s aftermath. China could dump the peg tomorrow and, after a period of adjustment and write-offs, would continue to grow apace. The UK, on the other hand, is happy to be locked in a competitive devaluation as it helps the government avoid imminent default while it puts through budget reforms. But regardless of their strategic positions, all major central banks will likely engage in some money printing to keep their currencies level with the rapidly devaluing US dollar – until the greenback loses its reserve status. (This may happen sooner than later, if an agreement this month between China and Turkey to stop using dollars in their transactions is any indication.)

As the Fed seeks to blow up the global monetary system, I take comfort in the fact that gold cannot fight a currency war because it is not a currency. Gold is money. Currencies used to be backed by money until the global fiat system was introduced under President Nixon. Fiat currency can be printed at will until the economy collapses, as has happened many times in history. Money is impossible to devalue at the whim of politicians because it is naturally scarce. Even in the ruins of Europe after the Second World War, when there was no central authority and chaos reigned, an ounce of gold was worth what it always had been.

If we are witnessing a fight to the death among fiat currencies, then gold is surely the Red Cross – a peaceful arbiter and source of mercy for our accumulated savings. While I do believe that life will go on after this war, as with all others, the thought of the world’s savers all hiding their assets safely in gold brings to mind the old question: What if they gave a war and nobody came?

This article is written by Peter Schiff of Europac and with their kind permission, O B Research has been privileged to publish their work on our website. To find out more about Europac, please visit:

First Majestic Silver Corp.: Another Record Quarter of Earnings and Cash Flows

First Majestic Silver Corp. is pleased to announce the unaudited financial results for the Company’s third quarter ending September 30, 2010.

Third Quarter 2010 Highlights ($CAD) Change from Q3-2009
Gross Revenue $36.1 million Up 114%
Net Revenue $33.5 million Up 144%
Mine Operating Earnings $16.9 million Up 307%
Net Income after Taxes $10.3 million Up 458%
Cash Flow Per Share (non-GAAP measure) $0.17 per share Up 279%
Earnings Per Share – basic $0.11 per share Up 450%
Silver Ounces Produced (excl eq oz Au/Pb) 1,823,370 oz Ag Up 95%
Silver Equivalent Production 1,920,498 eq. oz. Up 76%
Silver Equivalent Ounces Sold 1,869,393 eq. oz. Up 84%
Total Cash Costs per Ounce US$ 7.42 Down 14%
Direct Cash Costs per Ounce US$ 5.79 Up 4%
Average Revenue per Ounce sold US$ 18.57 Up 23%
Cash and Cash Equivalents (as at Sept 30th) $25.5 million Up $19.6 million

 

Results of Operations

Consolidated gross revenue (prior to smelting & refining charges, and metal deductions) for the quarter ended September 30, 2010 increased 114% to $36.1 million (US$34.7 million) compared to $16.8 million (US$15.4 million) for the quarter ended September 30, 2009, for an increase of $19.2 million. Compared to the second quarter ended June 30, 2010, consolidated gross revenue increased by $4.3 million or 13%. The increase in revenues in the third quarter of 2010 is primarily attributable to a 15% increase in silver ounces sold compared to the previous quarter. The increase in ounces sold is due to increased production from the plant at the La Encantada Silver Mine as well as from improving operating levels at the La Parrilla Silver Mine which combined to contribute a 95% increase in silver production when compared to the third quarter of 2009.

Net sales revenue (after smelting and refining charges and metals deductions) for the quarter ended September 30, 2010 was $33.5 million, an increase of 144% compared to $13.7 million for the third quarter of 2009. Net sales revenue for the quarter ended September 30, 2010 increased by 16% compared to $29.0 million in the second quarter of 2010. Smelting and refining charges and metal deductions decreased to 7% of gross revenue in the third quarter of 2010 compared to 19%of gross revenue in the third quarter of 2009, due to a shift in the production mix toward silver doré which is a benefit from the new cyanidation plant at La Encantada. Average smelting charges for doré in the third quarter of 2010 were US$0.39 per silver ounce as compared to US$3.84 per silver ounce for concentrates.

Net income after taxes was $10.3 million in the third quarter of 2010 resulting in basic earnings per common share (“EPS”) of $0.11, compared to a net income in the third quarter of 2009 of $1.8 million or an EPS of $0.02. Net income for the third quarter of 2010 was after taking a non-cash future income tax provision of $3.5 million or $0.04 per share and a foreign exchange loss (due to a stronger Peso) which increased by $1.0 million or $0.01 per share over the previous quarter, when net income after taxes was $8.9 million and basic EPS was $0.10.

Mine operating earnings for the third quarter of 2010 increased by 307% to $16.9 million, compared to mine operating earnings of $4.1 million for the third quarter of 2009, and are associated with an increase in net revenue during the third quarter of 2010. When compared to the second quarter of 2010, mine operating earnings increased by 29% from $13.1 million to $16.9 million.

Operating income increased by 617%, or $11.8 million, to $13.8 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2010, from $1.9 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2009, due to the 84% increase in ounces sold and the 23% increase in average US$ revenue per ounce of silver sold. When compared to the second quarter of 2010, operating income increased by 38% from $10.0 million to $13.8 million.

Production of silver, excluding any equivalents from gold, lead or zinc, increased 95% compared to the third quarter of 2009. The Company produced 1,823,370 ounces of silver in the current quarter, 1,538,798 ounces of silver in prior quarter and 935,996 ounces in the third quarter of 2009. In the current quarter, 95% of First Majestic’s revenue resulted from the sale of pure silver making it the purest silver producer relative to its peers.

Total silver equivalents production for the third quarter of 2010 increased 76% from the same quarter of the prior year and 16% from the prior quarter to 1,920,498 ounces of silver equivalents consisting of 1,823,370 ounces of silver, 323 ounces of gold, 1,248,086 pounds of lead and 228,517 pounds of zinc. This compares to the 1,089,481 ounces of silver equivalents produced in the third quarter of 2009, which consisted of 935,996 ounces of silver, 732 ounces of gold, 1,690,354 pounds of lead, and 8,913 pounds of zinc and compares with production in the previous quarter of 1,656,165 ounces of silver equivalents consisting of 1,538,798 ounces of silver, 541 ounces of gold and 1,494,548 pounds of lead.

In the third quarter of 2010, the Company sold 1,869,393 ounces of silver equivalent at an average price of $19.30 per ounce (US$18.57) compared to 1,018,417 ounces in the third quarter of 2009 at an average price of $16.54 per ounce (US$15.07), representing an increase of 84% in shipments over the same quarter in 2009 and a 15% increase over the preceding quarter. The average trading price for silver in the third quarter was US$18.96.

The new La Encantada cyanidation plant achieved average throughput of 3,477 tonnes per day in the third quarter compared to 2,900 tonnes per day in the second quarter. The La Encantada plant produces silver doré bars which are 93-97% silver with small amounts of lead, gold and other metals making up the balance of the contents in these bars. The economic differences between doré and concentrate production are significant and are beginning to reflect in improved financial numbers. The economics of switching from concentrate production to doré production resulted in a 56% savings of smelting and refining costs per silver ounce for consolidated operations in the third quarter of 2010 compared to the third quarter of 2009.

Total cash costs per ounce (including smelting, refining, metal deductions, transportation and other selling costs, and byproduct credits, which is a non-GAAP measure) for the third quarter of 2010 was US$7.42 per ounce of silver compared to US$8.64 per ounce of silver in the third quarter of 2009 and US$8.20 per ounce in the second quarter of 2010. The cost decrease was attributed to reduced smelting & refining costs (US$1.34 per ounce this quarter versus US$3.08 per ounce for the same quarter last year) related to the converting the production at La Encantada plant to doré production instead of concentrate production.

On a year to date basis, the Company’s cash position has increased by $19.6 million to $25.5 million at the end of the third quarter, and working capital increased by $19.3 million to $24.1 million over the same period. The Company achieved these increases while also investing $11.6 million in plant and equipment and $10.0 million in its mineral properties. In addition, in September and October the Company repaid in advance 100% of the $4.1 million balance of the FIFOMI loans outstanding leaving the Company debt free, excluding the small prepayment facility and capital leases.

In Summary

First Majestic has delivered another quarter of strong operating results thanks to the additional production, earnings and cash flow from operations including the new plant at the La Encantada Silver Mine, which have also come at a time when there’s been a significant increase in the price of silver, which combined, have had an extremely positive impact on the Company’s balance sheet on a year to date basis.

“These are clearly very exciting times in the silver commodity markets and a very exciting time for the Company to be reaping the rewards of over six years of hard work, and which have delivered increased capacities into a very buoyant market. We will continue to focus on the fundamentals of minimizing cash costs and increasing production as we grow First Majestic into a senior silver producer,” commented Keith Neumeyer, President and CEO of First Majestic.

First Majestic is a producing silver company focused in México and is aggressively pursuing its business plan of becoming a senior silver producer through the development of its existing mineral property assets and the pursuit through acquisition of additional mineral assets which contribute to the Company achieving its aggressive corporate growth objectives.

Full release