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Timmins Gold Sees Record Operating First Quarter

Timmins Gold Corp. (TSE:TMM)(NYSE MKT:TGD) has posted a near 32 percent increase in gold production for its first quarter, hitting record levels.

The company, which operates the San Francisco gold mine in Mexico, told investors Wednesday in a preliminary report that it produced 28,328 ounces in the three month period to March 31, compared to 21,532 ounces in the prior year quarter.

Gold sold increased almost 35 percent to 28,642 ounces, while silver sold rose nearly 22 percent to 14,313 ounces.

Average ore processed rose 44 percent to 19,858 tonnes per day, compared to 13,796 tonnes per day a year earlier.

"We had a record operating quarter to start 2013," said the company in its release on Wednesday, citing CEO Bruce Bragagnolo.

"We continue to realize the benefit of our Stage 2 crusher expansion as seen with the record throughput and production this quarter. Gold ounces produced was up over 15% quarter-on-quarter and crusher throughput was up over 22% quarter-on-quarter."

Bragagnolo said that crushing throughput is planned to increase further as the company continues to optimize the existing crusher circuits and plans to add its third - the equipment for which is scheduled to arrive "imminently".

In the quarter, Timmins processed 1.79 million dry tonnes of ore, up 42.4 percent from 1.26 million dry tonnes in the prior year period. Average grade processed rose nearly 7 percent to 0.825 grams per tonne of gold.

In its previous fourth quarter, the company reported that cash flows from operations, a key metric in the industry, climbed to $12.9 million from $11.5 million in the same quarter the prior year, with profit from operations rising to $16.0 million.

Late last month, the precious metals producer forecast sharply higher production for this year, of between 125,000 and 130,000 ounces of gold - which at the top of the range represents a 38 percent increase over 2012. The plan is to get production at up to 32,000 tonnes per day.

Drilling in 2013 will take place until the end of May, with an updated reserve and resource update, together with a new mine plan, to be released by the end of the summer. More than 77,700 metres were drilled next to the La Chicharra open pit gold mine last year, which is located 2 km west of the San Francisco pit.

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