PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Gold miner Apex Minerals has told shareholders that its operations faced some difficulties during the three months to March, with rain, power outages and the mechanical availability of the fleet all affecting production.
Gold production dropped around 4 000 oz compared with the previous quarter.
The miner said on Monday that it had been unable to haul around 41 000 t of broken stoped ore to the surface from its Wiluna mine, in Western Australia, owing to a lack of truck and loader availability.
Equipment performance deteriorated towards the end of the quarter, with above industrial-expected downtime in the trucking fleet, Apex noted.
A magnitude 3.0 seismic event also occurred during the quarter, adjacent to the old completed stoping areas, causing minor damage but requiring some rehabilitation and additional ground support installation in areas.
Furthermore, Apex noted that a number of power outages were also experienced during the quarter as a result of a gas supply interruption, excessive rain and general maintenance issues.
These outages contributed to lower underground production during the second half of the quarter, with the rain also impacting on the miner’s ability to haul ore both from the underground operation and to the mill, owing to the road conditions.
While the total tons mined during the quarter was in line with the previous quarter, Apex said that it was below expectations.
During the quarter under review, the miner produced some 15 100 oz of gold, compared with the 19 500 oz produced in the December quarter.
Apart from the difficulties caused by the weather and electricity delays, ore grade was also lower compared with the previous quarter, but in line with expectations.
Looking ahead, Apex noted that it would produce between 18 000 oz and 20 000 oz of gold during the June quarter of this year, with higher tons and grades expected from the underground operations.