Midtier miner Centerra Gold produced 729 556 oz of gold in 2018, a 7% decrease from that of 2017, but above the company’s guidance of 665 000 oz to 705 000 oz for the year.
Centerra, which operates the water-constrained Mt Milligan mine, in British Columbia, and the Kumtor mine, in Kyrgyzstan, produced 288 367 oz of gold in the fourth quarter of 2018.
The Mt Milligan mine also produced 11.8-million pounds of copper in the fourth quarter, taking full-year copper output to 47.1-million pounds, which is at the upper-end of the 40-million-pounds to 47-million-pounds guidance.
CEO Scott Perry commented in a news release on Tuesday that both Mt Milligan and Kumtor performed well during the fourth quarter, which led to the company exceeding its production guidance.
“At Mount Milligan there were sufficient water resources in the fourth quarter to enable us to run the mill processing facility at a higher than anticipated throughput rate allowing the operation to achieve the upper end (195 000 oz) of its gold production guidance and the upper-end (47-million pounds) of its copper guidance,” said Perry.
Kumtor had a strong fourth quarter and another solid year delivering more than 534 000 oz of gold production, which exceeded the upper end of the company’s gold production guidance.
For 2019, Centerra is estimating consolidated gold production to be in the range of 690 000 oz to 740 000 oz and 65-million to 75-million pounds of payable copper production from Mount Milligan.
Perry explained that the guidance assumed reduced mill throughput for the first quarter of 2019 at Mount Milligan to properly manage its water balance until the spring melt runoff.
Centerra’s projected consolidated all-in sustaining cost per ounce sold net of copper by-product for 2019 is expected to be in the range of $723/oz to $775/oz.
Meanwhile, the miner said that the strategic agreement with the Kyrgyz government would close in the first quarter of the year. The first longstop date – the date by which all conditions precedent to the completion of the strategic requirement are required to be satisfied – has been pushed out several times.
The agreement between the parties ended a long-standing legal battle over the Kumtor mine.