UPDATE 1-Red Back Mining sees 2010 gold production above 2009

Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:10am EST

* Production to grow to 500,000 ounces in 2010

* Produced 342,085 ounces in 2009

Jan 15 (Reuters) - Red Back Mining Inc RBI.TO said it forecast higher gold production in 2010 following the completion of major plant expansions at both its Chirano mine in Ghana and Tasiast mine in Mauritania.

The African-focused gold miner expects total production for 2010 in the rage of 485,000 ounces to 525,000 ounces at a cash operating cost between $390 and $420 per ounce.

In 2009, Red Back produced a total of 342,085 ounces of gold.

The company said capital expenditure at its Tasiast mine is budgeted at $48 million, and exploration costs are budgeted at $22 million for the first six months of 2010.

Capital expenditure at the Chirano mine is expected to be $77 million, and exploration costs are budgeted at $6 million for the first six months of 2010.

"The addition of heap leach production from Tasiast and development of the new Paboase South underground mine at Chirano will result in further production increases for 2011, towards an annual target of approximately 800,000 ounces in 2012," Chief Executive Richard Clark said in a statement.

Shares of the company closed at C$17.39 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Isheeta Sanghi in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy) ((isheeta.sanghi@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5800; Reuters Messaging: isheeta.sanghi.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))