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Argonaut Gold Announces 2013 Revenue of $165 Million and Income Before Tax of $42 Million

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 03/25/14 -- Argonaut Gold Inc. (TSX: AR) (the "Company", "Argonaut Gold" or "Argonaut") is pleased to announce its financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2013. All dollar amounts are expressed in United States dollars unless otherwise specified.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         4thQuarter      Change       Year End       Change
                    --------------------        --------------------
                          2013      2012              2013      2012
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Financial Data (000's except for earnings per share)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Revenue              $  34,604  $ 52,347    -34% $ 165,061 $ 187,119    -12%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gross profit         $   8,553  $ 26,641    -68% $  59,065 $  95,196    -38%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Net income -
 excludes one-time
 item(1)             $   2,157  $ 19,070    -89% $  26,843 $  64,856    -59%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Net income (loss)    $ (14,674) $ 19,070   -177% $  10,012 $  64,856    -85%
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Earnings per share -
 excludes one-time
 item(1)             $    0.01  $   0.19    -95% $    0.18 $    0.68    -74%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Earnings (loss) per
 share - basic       $   (0.10) $   0.19   -153% $    0.07 $    0.68    -90%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cash flow from
 operating
 activities before
 changes in non-cash
 operating working
 capital and other
 items               $   9,315  $ 24,134    -61% $  61,734 $  83,405    -26%
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Cash and cash
 equivalents                                     $  81,076 $ 190,826    -58%
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Gold Production and Cost Data
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gold ounces loaded
 to the pad             49,068    48,174     +2%   177,889   191,642     -7%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gold equivalent
 ounces ("GEO")
 produced(2)            28,734    32,871    -13%   120,433   110,496     +9%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gold equivalent
 ounces sold(2)         27,823    30,791    -10%   118,877   112,492     +6%
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Average realized
 sales price         $   1,248  $  1,698    -27% $   1,392 $   1,662    -16%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cash cost per gold
 ounce sold(3)       $     654  $    587    +11% $     644 $     597     +8%
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(1) Excludes deferred tax charge of $16.8 million in Q4 2013 due to Mexican
 tax law reform.
(2) Gold equivalent ounces ("GEO") assumes gold plus the gold equivalent of
 silver using a ratio of 55:1.
(3)  Cash cost per gold ounce sold is net of silver by-product (see Non-
 IFRS Measures section).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

2013 Financial Highlights:


--  Net income of $26.8 million, prior to a one-time deferred tax charge of
    $16.8 million in 2013.
--  Cash and cash equivalents was $81.1 million at December 31, 2013.
--  Successfully carried out capital expansion programs to enhance
    production at El Castillo and La Colorada.
    --  Production increased to over 120,000 gold equivalent ounces, a 9%
        improvement over 2012.
    --  Cash cost per gold ounce sold of $644, within guidance of $630-$660.

2013 Company Highlights:


--  Completed the purchase of the San Agustin project from Silver Standard
    Resources Inc.
--  Announced positive prefeasibility study on Magino which indicated an
    after-tax internal rate of return of 18% and an after-tax net present
    value of $199 million, while incorporating only 40% of the current
    mineral resource estimate.
--  Drilling and metallurgical test work provided for the inclusion of an
    additional 360,000 new gold ounces of in-pit mineralization, consisting
    of more than 315,000 ounces in the measured resources category and more
    than 45,000 ounces in the indicated resources category. These are
    summarized in the Mineral Resources section at the end of this document.
--  Drilling program at Veta Madre led to a new resource of 110,000 new gold
    ounces in the indicated category. This is summarized in the Mineral
    Resources section table at the end of this document.
--  Completed acquisition of the La Colorada royalty to establish 100%
    ownership of La Colorada.
--  A surface and mining rights expansion agreement with Richmont Mines Inc.
    ("Richmont") was signed. This provides a key strategic initiative for
    the Company as now the full Magino resource envelope (an additional 60%
    of the resource estimate) may be exploited while allowing for additional
    exploration upside on the Richmont ground.
--  San Antonio exploration and permitting process continued.
--  Expenditures of $185.7 million on mineral properties, plant and
    equipment in 2013, including $88.1 million on acquisitions.

Operations:

El Castillo


--  Q4 production of 20,848 gold ounces.
--  Full year production of 94,804 gold ounces.
--  Per ounce cash cost sold of $699, slightly below guidance of $700-$725.
--  During Q4, 39,269 gold ounces loaded on the pad.
    --  West side crusher and overland conveyor project was completed and
        1.3 million tonnes was moved during the fourth quarter.
--  New south waste dump is operational.
--  Drilling and metallurgical test work provided for the inclusion of an
    additional 360,000 new gold ounces of in-pit mineralization, consisting
    of more than 315,000 ounces in the measured resources category and more
    than 45,000 ounces in the indicated resources category. These are
    summarized in the Mineral Resources section at the end of this document.

La Colorada


--  Q4 production of 7,017 gold ounces and 47,759 silver ounces, for 7,885
    gold equivalent ounces (at 55:1 conversion).
--  Full year production of 22,544 gold ounces and 169,673 silver ounces,
    for 25,629 gold equivalent ounces (at 55:1 conversion).
--  Per ounce cash cost sold of $417, below guidance of $450-$475.
--  During Q4, 9,799 gold ounces and 136,476 silver ounces loaded on the
    pad.
--  La Colorada pit is now fully opened, and the average life of mine grade
    was achieved by year-end.
--  Drilling program at Veta Madre led to a new resource of 110,000 new gold
    ounces in the indicated category. This is summarized in the Mineral
    Resources section table at the end of this document.

CEO Commentary

Peter Dougherty, Argonaut's Chief Executive Officer stated, "2013 was a year in which Argonaut Gold accomplished key advancements across all of our projects. We added ounces at our operating mines, expanded the ground surrounding our projects and brought on a new exploration property within 10 kilometers of our main producing El Castillo mine. We are also proud that the Company beat guidance on cash cost per ounce sold at both properties, coming in below $700 at El Castillo and under $450 at La Colorada.

"2014 will be a key year for the organization as production is expected to increase to 135-150,000 gold equivalent ounces at El Castillo and La Colorada. We aim to expand our resource base further through drilling at San Agustin and La Colorada. In addition, Argonaut will be moving forward with permitting at San Antonio and Magino."

Financial Results - Fourth Quarter 2013

During the fourth quarter of 2013, revenue was $34.6 million from gold sales of 26,918 ounces. Gross profit was $8.6 million for the quarter. Cash cost per gold ounce sold in the quarter was $654 (compared to $587 for the same period in 2012). Cash cost per gold ounce sold is a non-IFRS measure, see note below.

During the quarter, profit from operations was $5.1 million. Net income for the quarter, prior to a one-time item, was $2.2 million or $0.01 per basic share. Net income was adversely affected by a one-time, non-cash deferred income tax charge of $16.8 million ($11.4 million for operating properties, $5.4 million for exploration/development properties) as a result of the Mexican tax law reform approved by the President of Mexico in December 2013.

Cash and cash equivalents was $81.1 million at December, 31, 2013. Capital expenditures in the fourth quarter were $19.6 million, primarily as a result of infrastructure improvements at the El Castillo and La Colorada mines, as well as stripping at La Colorada.

Financial Results - Year End 2013

For the year ended December 31, 2013, revenue was $165.1 million from gold sales of 114,909 ounces. Gross profit was $59.1 million for the year. Cash cost per gold ounce sold in the year was $644 (compared to $597 for the same period in 2012).

For the full year, profit from operations was $43.9 million. Net income for the year, prior to a one-time item, was $26.8 million or $0.18 per basic share. Net income was adversely affected by a one-time, non-cash deferred income tax charge of $16.8 million ($11.4 million for operating properties, $5.4 million for exploration/development properties) as a result of the Mexican tax law reform approved by the President of Mexico in December 2013.


El Castillo Operating Statistics
                          4th Quarter                 Year End
                           2013     2012 Change       2013      2012 Change
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mining
Tonnes ore (000's)        3,764    3,321    +13%    13,621    11,962    +14%
Tonnes waste (000's)      3,810    3,374    +13%    13,376    12,091    +11%
Tonnes mined (000's)      7,574    6,695    +13%    26,997    24,052    +12%
Waste/ore ratio            1.01     1.02     -1%      0.98      1.01     -3%
Heap Leach Pad
Tonnes ore direct to
 leach pad (000's)        1,045    2,034    -49%     6,352     7,561    -16%
Tonnes crushed (000's)    2,769    1,282   +116%     7,304     4,555    +60%
Tonnes overland
 conveyor (000's)         1,312        -    N/A      1,533         -    N/A
Production
Gold grade (g/t)           0.32     0.37    -14%      0.35      0.39    -10%
Gold loaded to leach
 pad (ozs.)              39,269   39,329   -0.2%   154,581   151,462     +2%
Gold produced (ozs.)     20,848   25,805    -19%    94,804    87,712     +8%
Gold ounces sold         20,620   23,595    -13%    92,675    89,881     +3%
Cash cost per gold
 ounce sold            $    710 $    661     +7% $     699 $     635    +10%

Summary of Production Results

Total tonnes mined increased by 13% for the fourth quarter 2013 over fourth quarter 2012 and 12% year over year. The ounces loaded to the pads in the fourth quarter were consistent in 2013 and 2012; however, approximately 36% of these ounces came from transitional ore where recoveries are lower. Year over year, there was a 2% increase in ounces of gold loaded to the pad.

Gold production of 20,848 ounces in the fourth quarter of 2013 was 19% lower compared to the fourth quarter of 2012, primarily due to lower recoveries encountered in the transition material processed. Full year production of 94,804 ounces was an 8% increase over 2012 production due to increased tonnage processed. We anticipate gold equivalent ounce production of 90-100,000 ounces for 2014.

The strip ratio of waste to ore decreased in the fourth quarter to 1.01 compared to 1.02 in the fourth quarter of 2012. The strip ratio for the year ended December 31, 2013 was 0.98 compared to 1.01 for the year ended December 31, 2012, reflecting a push to the southwest side of the pit.



La Colorada Operating Statistics
                          4th Quarter                 Year End
                           2013     2012 Change       2013      2012 Change
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mining
Tonnes ore (000's)          413      230    +80%     1,726       266   +549%
Tonnes waste (000's)      4,103    2,023   +103%    14,588     3,841   +280%
Total tonnes (000's)      4,515    2,253   +101%    16,314     4,108   +297%
Waste/ore ratio             9.9      8.8    +13%       8.5      14.4    -41%
Tonnes rehandled
 (000's)                     21      693    -97%        21     3,066    -99%
Heap Leach Pad
Tonnes to pad (000's)       740      623    +19%     2,175     2,895    -25%
Production
Gold grade (g/t)           0.41     0.44     -7%      0.33      0.43    -23%
Gold loaded to leach
 pad (ozs.)               9,799    8,845    +11%    23,308    40,180    -42%
Gold produced (ozs.)      7,017    6,195    +13%    22,544    20,369    +11%
Silver produced (ozs.)   47,759   47,890   -0.3%   169,673   132,805    +28%
Gold equivalent ounces
 produced                 7,885    7,066    +12%    25,629    22,784    +12%
Gold ounces sold          6,298    5,907     +7%    22,234    19,900    +12%
Silver ounces sold       40,800   54,108    -25%   173,751   116,717    +49%
Cash cost per gold
 ounce sold (net of
 silver credits)       $    468 $    292    +60% $     417 $     424     -2%

Summary of Production Results

Total tonnes mined increased by 101% for the fourth quarter 2013 over fourth quarter 2012 and 297% year over year. There were 9,799 ounces placed on the pad in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to 8,845 ounces placed on the pad in the fourth quarter of 2012. Year over year, there was a 42% decrease in ounces of gold loaded to the pad due to lower grade.

Gold production of 7,017 ounces in the fourth quarter of 2013 was a 13% increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. Production in 2013 of 25,629 gold equivalent ounces was an increase of 12% over 2012 production of 22,784 gold equivalent ounces. We anticipate gold equivalent ounce production rising to 45-50,000 ounces for 2014 as we ramp up crushing capacity and mine higher grade ore.

The strip ratio of waste to ore increased year over year in the fourth quarter to 9.9:1 compared to 8.8:1 in the fourth quarter of 2012. The strip ratio for the year ended December 31, 2012 was 8.5:1 compared to 14.4:1 for the year ended December 31, 2013. By year-end, we had completed the majority of stripping on the La Colorada pit and are now in ore grades similar to the life of mine grade. In 2014 we will begin opening up the Grand Central pit.

Chief Operating Officer Comments

In regards to operations, Richard Rhoades, Chief Operating Officer at Argonaut Gold said, "Production for the fourth quarter at El Castillo was impacted by transitional material placed on the pads (36% being transitional material), which yields lower recovery. This is part of the mine sequencing, and we anticipate being back in oxide ores by Q3, 2014 as the mine plan expands into the next cut on the north side of the pit.

"At La Colorada we are happy to report at the year end the mine was fully opened up and operations have reached life of mine grade in the La Colorada pit. Crusher throughput continues to be a challenge and we are adding additional crushing capacity by the end of the first quarter. This additional equipment is expected to help us increase our throughput capacity."

Expansion Projects for 2014

The Company plans on investing a total of between $41 million and $61 million on capital expenditures and exploration initiatives in 2014. Major capital expenditures in 2014 are expected to include approximately $11 million at El Castillo, $14 million at La Colorada (predominately capitalized stripping of $11 million), $4 million at Magino, and $7-$27 million at San Antonio, depending on permitting. Exploration expenditures in 2014 are expected to amount to approximately $5 million.

Company Progress

Peter Dougherty added, "During 2014, Argonaut's goal is to expand production to achieve 135-150,000 ounces of gold equivalent production. Capital projects will be completed in regards to pad construction and equipment investments to ensure production meets the expectations at the mines.

"The Company continues with permitting at our San Antonio and Magino development projects. These projects are expected to provide future production growth to achieve our goal of becoming a 300-500,000 ounce a year producer. Meanwhile, the San Agustin project provides the Argonaut shareholders with an exciting exploration property just 10 kilometers from our main producing mine. With three drill rigs currently running and a timeline for establishing a current preliminary economic assessment on the project by the end of 2014, the potential for the project is very promising."

Argonaut Gold Q4 Financial Results Conference Call and Webcast - March 25, 2014:

The Q4 financial results call is scheduled to take place on March 25, 2014 at 8:30 am EDT. Details for the call-in participation are:


Q4 and Year End Conference Call Information for March 25, 2014:
Toll Free (North America):                    1-866-696-5910
International:                                1-416-340-2217
Webcast:                                      http://www.argonautgold.com/

Q4 and Year End Conference Call Replay:
Toll Free Replay Call (North America):        1-905-694-9451
International Replay Call:                    1-800-408-3053
Passcode:                                     4950688

The conference call replay will be available from 11:30 am EDT on March 25, 2014 to April 8, 2014.

Annual General Meeting:

Argonaut Gold Inc. will hold its annual meeting of shareholders on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 11:00 am EDT at the offices of Bennett Jones LLP, located at 3400 One First Canadian Place, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Non-IFRS Measures

The Company has included a non-IFRS measure for "Cash cost per gold ounce sold" in this press release to supplement its financial statements which are presented in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"). Cash cost per gold ounce sold is equal to production costs less silver sales divided by gold ounces sold. The Company believes that this measure provides investors with an improved ability to evaluate the performance of the Company. Non-IFRS measures do not have any standardized meaning prescribed under IFRS. Therefore they may not be comparable to similar measures employed by other companies. The data is intended to provide additional information and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS. Please see the MD&A for full disclosure on non-IFRS measures.

This press release should be read in conjunction with the Company's audited annual consolidated financial statements for the year-ended December 31, 2013 and associated management's discussion and analysis ("MD&A") which are available from the Company's website, www.argonautgold.com, in the "Investors" section under "Financial Filings", and under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Mineral Resources

The table below provides detail on the ounces provided by the drilling and metallurgical assessment of sulphides at El Castillo and drilling at La Colorada (Veta Madre).


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    Au            Ag
                                Resource  Tonnes Grade      Au Grade      Ag
Property                        Category (000's) (g/t)  Ounces (g/t)  Ounces
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
El Castillo - Sulphide non-
 silicified                     Measured  17,222  0.46 256,978
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
El Castillo - Sulphide non-
 silicified                    Indicated   2,978  0.50  47,723
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
El Castillo - Sulphide
 silicified                     Measured   2,416  0.80  62,064
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
La Colorada, Veta Madre        Indicated   6,718  0.51 110,000  3.25 702,000
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Technical Information and Mineral Properties Reports

The technical information contained in this document has been prepared under supervision of, and reviewed and approved by Mr. Thomas H. Burkhart, Argonaut's Vice President of Exploration, a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. For further information on the Company's properties please see the reports as listed below on the Company's website or on www.sedar.com:


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
El Castillo Mine    NI 43-101 Technical Report on Resources and Reserves,
                    Argonaut Gold Inc., El Castillo Mine, Durango State,
                    Mexico dated February 24, 2011
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
La Colorada Mine    NI 43-101 Preliminary Economic Assessment La Colorada
                    Project, Sonora, Mexico dated December 30, 2011
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Magino Gold Project NI 43-101 Technical Report and Mineral Resource Estimate
                    on the Magino Gold Project, Ontario, Toronto, Canada
                    dated January 30, 2014
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
San Antonio Gold    NI 43-101 Technical Report and Mineral Resource Estimate
Project             on the San Antonio Gold Project, Baja California Sur,
                    Mexico dated October 10, 2012
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

About Argonaut Gold

Argonaut Gold is a Canadian gold company engaged in exploration, mine development and production activities. Its primary assets are the production stage El Castillo mine in Durango, Mexico, and the La Colorada mine in Sonora, Mexico. Advanced exploration stage projects include the San Antonio project in Baja California Sur, Mexico, and the Magino project in Ontario, Canada. The recently acquired San Agustin project is the primary exploration target for Argonaut in 2014. The Company also has several exploration stage projects, all of which are located in North America.

Creating Value Beyond Gold

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains certain "forward-looking statements" and "forward-looking information" under applicable Canadian securities laws concerning the proposed transaction and the business, operations and financial performance and condition of Argonaut Gold Inc. ("Argonaut" or "Argonaut Gold"). Forward-looking statements and forward-looking information include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to estimated production and mine life of the various mineral projects of Argonaut; synergies and financial impact of completed acquisitions; the benefits of the development potential of the properties of Argonaut; the future price of gold, copper, and silver; the estimation of mineral reserves and resources; the realization of mineral reserve estimates; the timing and amount of estimated future production; costs of production; success of exploration activities; and currency exchange rate fluctuations. Except for statements of historical fact relating to Argonaut, certain information contained herein constitutes forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are frequently characterized by words such as "plan," "expect," "project," "intend," "believe," "anticipate", "estimate" and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions "may" or "will" occur. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the statements are made, and are based on a number of assumptions and subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Many of these assumptions are based on factors and events that are not within the control of Argonaut and there is no assurance they will prove to be correct.

Factors that could cause actual results to vary materially from results anticipated by such forward-looking statements include changes in market conditions, variations in ore grade or recovery rates, risks relating to international operations, fluctuating metal prices and currency exchange rates, changes in project parameters, the possibility of project cost overruns or unanticipated costs and expenses, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry, failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated.

These factors are discussed in greater detail in Argonaut's most recent Annual Information Form and in the most recent Management Discussion and Analysis filed on SEDAR, which also provide additional general assumptions in connection with these statements. Argonaut cautions that the foregoing list of important factors is not exhaustive. Investors and others who base themselves on forward-looking statements should carefully consider the above factors as well as the uncertainties they represent and the risk they entail. Argonaut believes that the expectations reflected in those forward-looking statements are reasonable, but no assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct and such forward-looking statements included in this press release should not be unduly relied upon. These statements speak only as of the date of this press release.

Although Argonaut has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Argonaut undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if circumstances or management's estimates or opinions should change except as required by applicable securities laws. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Statements concerning mineral reserve and resource estimates may also be deemed to constitute forward-looking statements to the extent they involve estimates of the mineralization that will be encountered if the property is developed. Comparative market information is as of a date prior to the date of this document.

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