Avesoro Resources Inc (previously Aureus Mining), the TSX- and AIM-listed West African gold producer, has announced production results for the quarter ended 31 March from its New Liberty Gold Mine (NLGM) in Liberia in West Africa.
According to the company, the quarter saw continued improvement in both mining and processing operations as management continued the turnaround in operations at New Liberty.
The processing plant at New Liberty (photo: Avesoro).
Total gold production for the quarter was 14 906 ounces, in line with expectations for the quarter and as previously guided. Full year production guidance of 90 000 to 100 000 ounces is maintained as is previously advised cash cost guidance of US$750 to US$800 per ounce and all in sustaining costs (AISC) guidance of US$925 to US$975 per ounce of gold produced.
Further to the 76 % increase in total material movement (waste rock and ore) achieved between quarters 3 and 4 of 2016, material movement increased by an additional 28 % during the reporting period to 4 295 kt of which 351 kt tonnes was ore and 3 944 kt was waste rock. This represents an increase of 54 % in ore production and 27 % in waste movement respectively, and – says Avesoro – is a direct result of the operational efficiencies put into place by the management team since taking control of mining operations during Q3 2016.
The end of the period saw the installation and commissioning of the two new PSA oxygen plants that will deliver additional oxygen to the process plant, which is expected to improve gold recovery levels and the efficiency of the detoxification circuit.
Throughout the period, Avesoro focused on opening access to – and the stripping – of a new pit, whilst catching up on the previously postponed waste pushbacks. During the quarter, the strip ratio at New Liberty was 11,2:1 (waste to ore) compared to an average of 9,1 throughout 2016, highlighting the company’s focus on catching up on waste stripping. The company will continue to focus upon catching up on the waste cutbacks throughout Q2 2017 in preparation for the onset of the wet season, which will result in gold production for 2017 being weighted towards the second half of the year.
The emphasis on waste stripping throughout the period resulted in a decrease in the average head grade of ore mined from the open pit from 2,61 g/t to 2,21 g/t, a decrease of 17 % over the previous quarter. Mined ore grades are forecast to return towards the average reserve grade during Q2 2017 now that access to the new pit has been completed.
The New Liberty process plant operations continued to stabilise, with 92 % plant utilisation achieved throughout the quarter, and 95 % plant utilisation being achieved during March 2017.
“I am pleased that we have continued to build upon the operational improvements delivered during the second half of 2016 throughout the first quarter of 2017,” comments Serhan Umurhan, CEO of Avesoro Resources.” Although, as expected, gold production for Q1 2017 is lower than that delivered across Q4 2016, total material movement has continued to increase month on month and we are beginning to catch up on the waste shortfall from H1 2016. The process plant is now operating in a consistent and stable manner and we remain confident of delivering our production guidance of 90 000 – 100 000 ounces of gold for the year.”