London (Platts)--21Apr2009Canadian miner New Gold produced 54,938 oz of gold, 1,700 mt of copperand 427,439 oz of silver in the first quarter of 2009, according to a resultsstatement released Tuesday. The company announced first-quarter gold sales of 55,397 oz at a cashcost of 3/oz, net of byproduct sales. Excluding Amapari, cash cost atmining operations was 7/oz net of byproduct sales. Ounces sold were higherand cash cost was lower than the forecast underlying annual guidance of190,000-210,000 oz at 5-485/oz. New Gold said that this previously announced guidance remained unchanged.The production and cash cost information provided are approximate figures andmay differ slightly from the first quarter earnings. The company said that production at its Cerro San Pedro mine for thefirst quarter was 20,583 gold oz and 427,439 silver oz. Gold sales for thefirst quarter were 18,314 oz at a cash cost of 1/oz, net of byproductsales. New Gold said that silver production for the quarter increasedsignificantly from previous quarters due to higher feed grade resulting from apositive model reconciliation and increased pad area under secondary leaching.It added that cash costs were well in line with guidance and had beenpositively impacted by an increase in silver production, a favorable foreignexchange rate and lower realized operating costs in Mexican pesos. Peak Mines production for the first quarter was 20,629 oz of gold and1,700 mt of copper. Gold sold in the first quarter was 20,856 oz at a cashcost of 7/oz, net of byproduct sales. Gold production was slightly lower inthe first quarter than in previous quarters as per the mine plan, withproduction scheduled to increase in the coming quarters as mining progressesinto the higher grade Perseverance Zone D ore body. It said that cash costnet of byproduct sales was favorable due to lower operating expenditures, afavorable foreign exchange rate and the re-pricing of copper in transit. New Gold said that it had placed its Brazilian Ampari mine on temporarycare and maintainance on January 2 due to depletion of ore suitable fortreatment at the existing facilities. Gold production from previously stackedore was 13,726 oz for the quarter, exceeding 2009 production guidance of10,000 to 12,000 oz. First-quarter gold sales were 16,227 oz at a cash cost of6/oz. Leaching of the material stacked in the fourth quarter has now beencompleted and leach pads are in the final stage of neutralization. The companysaid that it was looking into developing sulfide resources at Amapari, aprocess which would require the installation of a conventionalcrush/grind/carbon-in-leach mill. It added that that it expected analysis ofthe project to be completed in coming weeks. NEW AFTON TO BEGIN PRODUCTION IN Q2 2012 New Afton, New Gold's primary development project, is expected to beginproduction in the second half of 2012. The project will be an undergroundblock cave mine, which will produce an annual estimated average of 85,000 ozof gold and 75 million lb of copper over a 12-year mine life. New Gold said that the development schedule for New Afton, which wasrevised in November of last year, involved the continuation of undergrounddevelopment and the resumption of surface construction at the end of 2010, production sceduled to start in the second half of 2012. The company said that its El Morro copper-gold project entered thepermitting stage with the submission of the environmental impact statement inNovember 2008. It is anticipated that the permit will be obtained within 12 to18 months from that date, after which development activities could proceed.Permitting activities continue and detailed engineering of infrastructure hasbegun. New Gold and Western Goldfields, which announced that they were tocombine businesses in March, now have total joint forecasted gold productionat three gold mines in mining-friendly jurisdictions, of approximately 335,000oz in 2009, expected to increase to over 400,000 oz in 2012