Aim-listed Ariana Resources said on Tuesday that the Kiziltepe mine, in Turkey, had exceeded its production guidance by 3.5% last year, producing 18 645 oz of gold.
The Arzu North and Derya areas at the mine are currently being mined, but Ariana said that the joint venture (JV) partners would expand these openpit operations once permits were granted.
The mine’s processing plant was also undergoing expansion, with construction due to be completed in the second half of this year. The processing plant’s capacity would be increased to 500 000 t/y.
Ariana MD Dr Kerim Sener said the final quarter of 2020 rounded off a solid year of production for Kiziltepe.
“We were further buoyed by gold and silver prices during the year, resulting in revenue exceeding $37-million in 2020, and capping off an exceptional period of company development.”
Ariana’s shareholding in JV company Zenit Madencilik, would reduce to 23.5% once new JV partners, Ozaltin Holding and Proccea Construction, came on board, as ratified by shareholders on December 30.
Since operations started at Kiziltepe, Zenit had repaid $36.7-million in debt to Turkiye Finans Bankasi. Accordingly, its relationships with lenders are sound, which bodes well for future mine development projects at Tavsan and Salinbas – contemplated as part of Ariana’s planned new JV with Ozaltin and Proccea.
"Our reduced holding in the Zenit JV will naturally place a different emphasis on our operational activities going forward. Accordingly, as we transition into the new framework, we will report our production from the joint venture on a six-monthly, rather than quarterly, basis going forward,” Sener points out.
Ariana is continuing to progress its exploration and development activities across its portfolio, which includes a drilling programme being undertaken within the JV and the startup of field activities elsewhere.
Ariana had set up a two-rig diamond drilling programme for 4 000 m to 5 000 m at Kiziltepe to test vein extensions at Arzu South, Arzu North, Derya and Banu, with the aim of expanding the resource.
“Notably, we are expecting to increase the pace of our involvement in Venus Minerals, with the expectation that a 1 700 m diamond drilling programme at the Magellan project, located in North Troodos [Cyprus], can start by the second quarter; the current limitations imposed by travel restrictions notwithstanding.
“We are also fast-tracking some other exciting copper/gold project opportunities in the region, further details of which will be announced in due course."