Centamin lifts revenue, production in first quarter

20th April 2023

By: Donna Slater

Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer


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LSE- and TSX-listed gold miner and explorer Centamin produced 14% more gold year-on-year in the first quarter of this year at 105 875 oz, while its revenue increased by 18% year-on-year to $205-million from the sale of 107 661 oz of gold at an average price of $1 902/oz.

The higher production volumes were driven by increased underground productivity at the flagship Sukari gold mine, as mining rates ramped up to 345 000 t – a 61% increase year-on-year, following the transition to owner mining during the first half of 2022.

Total ore mined was 236 000 t at an average combined grade of 4.02 g/t, representing a 53% increase in ore tonnes and a 13% increase in grade.

The underground ore was made up of 144 000 t of ore mined from stopes, at an average grade of 4.86 g/t, and 92 000 t of ore mined from development, at an average grade of 2.69 g/t.

CEO Martin Horgan says these results reflect a good start to the year, with the Sukari team delivering another consistent performance in line with Centamin’s operational plan, as well as making “great” progress on the company’s key capital projects.

Total material (waste and ore) moved in Centamin’s openpit operation increased by 6% year-on-year with 33-million tonnes moved, driven by ongoing improvements in operating efficiencies and productivity within the owner-operated fleet.

During the first quarter, openpit ore was mined from multiple working areas, with contributions from Stage 5 North, East and West, and Stage 7.

As per the mine plan, total openpit ore mined for the quarter was 3.3-million tonnes – a 10% increase during the period under review, at an average mined grade of 0.87 g/t gold – a 6% decrease, driven by greater contributions from lower grade areas of the pit.

However, Centamin expects openpit grades to improve moderately throughout this year, averaging about 0.9 g/t.

“Our mining operations continue to benefit from both increased flexibility in the openpit, as a result of the accelerated waste-mining strategy and operational productivity gains, as well as improved productivity and performance from the underground mine,” he says.

Horgan adds that Centamin restates its guidance for the year of between 450 000 oz and 480 000 oz, weighted towards the second half.

The miner forecasts its cash costs to range between $840/oz and 990/oz, with all-inclusive sustaining costs to range between $1 250/oz and 1 400/oz of gold sold.

Centamin’s adjusted capital expenditure guidance for the remainder of the year is set to be $225-million, the majority of which it expects to have spent in the first half of the year. This excludes $48-million of sustaining deferred stripping reclassified from operating costs.

Exploration spend is budgeted at $30-million, including $23-million for the pre-development study work on the Doropo project.

In terms of processing, the miner effected a 2% increase in production through processing 3-million tonnes of ore at an average feed grade of 1.2 g/t – a 12% increase, reflecting a greater contribution of underground ore delivered to the plant.

The metallurgical gold recovery rate was 88.8% for the quarter – a 1% increase year-on-year.

Centamin also notes that several key maintenance projects scheduled for the first quarter, including mill relining and work on the mill motors, were completed successfully with no unplanned disruption to throughput.

In terms of exploration, the miner undertook brownfield exploration across the 160 km2 Sukari concession, amounting to $3.8-million in the first quarter. This work focused on the development of additional mineral resources within the concession that can be converted to mineral reserves and incorporated into the mine plan in the shortest timeframe.

The focus is on re-evaluation of old prospects and new targets which have been developed over the last two years through systematic soil sampling and geological mapping programmes.

During the period under review, Centamin conducted 1 613 m of second-phase exploration drilling at the new V-Shear East prospect and 2 842 m of follow-up drilling on Wadi Alam targets initially identified in 2021.

The miner also undertook the re-logging and modelling of the updated Quartz Ridge prospect, with additional drilling planned for the second quarter of this year.

Centamin also continued soil and geochemical sampling of newly identified drill targets (ARC, SE Corner and Sami South) to prepare them for drilling, with 7 000 m of drilling planned to test the newly defined drill targets.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online




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