Aurizon Mines will produce less gold in 2012

Aurizon Mines slipped 2% today on news that the gold miner is cutting production in 2012.

The Vancouver-based company (TSX:ARZ), whose principal asset is the Casa Berdi gold mine in Quebec, said it is projecting 155-160,000 ounces of gold in 2012, at cash costs of $600/oz. That compares to 163,845 ounces produced in 2011, a record year for Aurizon, up 16% from 2010.

“Mine sequencing in 2012 will result in ore grades that are expected to be approximately six per cent lower than those achieved in 2011,” Aurizon said in a statement.

At the same time, the company tripled its fourth-quarter profit on higher gold prices and sales, to $21.8 million from $7 million in the same period last year. Revenues were up 77% to $85 million.

Aurizon has 11 properties in Quebec including Casa Berdi and Joanna, which is in the feasiblity stage. The company plans to spend $9.7 million this year on exploration.

Aurizon can also earn a 65% interest in NioGold’s Marban Block property:  an initial 50% by spending $20M over three years, completing an updated NI 43-101-compliant mineral resource estimate, which will be done this month, and then making a resource payment for 50% of the total gold ounces defined by that resource estimate.