Belvedere Resources (CVE:BEL) called 2011 a successful year, reporting a significant increase in revenues and operational progress at its gold and nickel projects in Finland, which it expects to continue this year.

Net income rose to €2.6 million in 2011 from €2 million in the previous year as revenues jumped more than threefold to €24.7 million from €7.1 million. In the fourth quarter, net income reached €641,242, up from €549,884 in the previous quarter.

The company, which funds its gold exploration projects with revenues from its Hitura nickel mine in Finland, pointed out that its cash position rose to €1.51 million from €386,000 a year earlier.

The increase came despite a €3.5 million investment in gold and nickel exploration with more than 20,000 metres of exploration drilling completed during the year.

Early this year, the company extended its sales agreement with Jinchuan Group, China’s largest nickel producer, de-risking the expansion phase of the mine and securing funds for its gold assets including the Kopsa copper-gold project.

On the operational front, Belvedere’s Hitura mine milled 570,941 tonnes of ore at an average grade of 0.56 percent nickel in 2011.

Belvedere said its efforts to reduce operational costs and increase throughout at Hitura are well advanced with final studies underway on the feasibility of restarting open pit operations at surface in addition to underground mining.

At its Rantasalmi gold property, Belvedere reported a maiden indicated resource of 68,000 ounces for the Osikonmaki East prospect in October, while increasing the inferred resource estimate by 52 percent to 244,000 ounces.

Last week, Belvedere confirmed a new high grade gold discovery at Rantasalmi, where a recent drill programme at the Osikonmaki East’s Upper East HW zone had confirmed the initial find, which was announced last year.

Broker Ocean Securities issued a note in response to the news, saying it expected the company to report a significant increase in the Osikonmaki resource.

Belvedere said in the full year report that it will continue investing in its gold and nickel projects with further exploration drilling planned for the current year.

Metallurgical studies are currently underway on the Kopsa property, which should enable the company to start feasibility studies for the project.

“Overall, 2011 was a successful year for the company,” Belvedere said in today’s statement.

“The company remains committed to further developing gold and nickel operations in line with our business objectives.”