Turkey-focused explorer and developer Ariana Resources on Monday reported that its Kiziltepe project produced 7 296 oz of gold during the quarter ended March 31, 2019, reflecting a solid start to 2019.
Kiziltepe is part of the Red Rabbit joint venture (JV) with Proccea Construction and is 50%-owned by Ariana through its shareholding in Zenit.
The project milled 46 825 t of ore during the period at an average head grade of 4.83 g/t gold and had operational mill availability running at 99% and use at 95% for the period.
Ariana also noted that process recoveries of gold remained high at 93.7% at the end of the quarter, and that gross income for the quarter was $10.8-million at an average realised gold price of $1 311/oz, against an average revenue of $1 489/oz of gold.
Operating cash costs for the quarter are estimated at $399/oz.
According to MD Dr Kerim Sener, operating cash costs per ounce continued to remain low, despite the high strip ratios incurring during the pushback of the southern pit wall at Arzu South. This, he added, was helped by the planned draw down on stockpiles, maintenance of significant by-product silver credit and high grades through the plant during the period.
"As at the end of the quarter, 60% of the JV construction capital loan of $33-million had been repaid, and by the end of the June quarter we are expecting to be almost 70% repaid. Monthly intercompany loan repayments and dividends from the JV to our wholly owned subsidiary, Galata Madencilik, reached [about] $2.7-million by the end of [the first quarter of the year]."
Meanwhile, production of ore from the openpit was 24 686 dry tonnes over the period, with a peak rate of 10 987 t achieved in March.
Gross capital loan repayments by Zenit to Turkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi have been made on their scheduled basis and have amounted to $19.6-million in aggregate as at the end of March 2019, with about $13.4-million remaining. About $3.2-million was repaid during the quarter.
Looking ahead, Ariana said that ore production from the openpit would remain restricted during the second and third quarters, owing to the continuation of work on the pushback of the southern wall of the Arzu South pit. This is not expected to impact output significantly.