TSX-listed Centerra Gold reported a strong operating performance from its two mines in 2019, exceeding the company’s consolidated gold production and cost guidance.
The Kumtor and Mt Milligan mines, in Kyrgyzstan and Canada's British Columbia, respectively, together produced about 783 300 oz of gold at an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $708/oz.
The gold production guidance for the year was set at 765 000 oz, while the AISC guidance was set at between $713/oz and $743/oz.
Further, the Mt Milligan mine achieved the mid-point of its copper production guidance for the year under review, at 71.1-million pounds.
Centerra managed to generate $334-million of cash from operations in 2019, which enabled the company to pay down $111-million of its debt. The company ended the year with net cash of $34.8-million.
Adjusted net earnings for the year amounted to $181-million, or $0.62 apiece.
The board approved a dividend of C$0.04 apiece, based on its financial position, recent strong operating results and cash flows.
Centerra set its gold production guidance for 2020 at between 740 000 oz and 820 000 oz of gold, while copper guidance was set at between 80-million and 90-million pounds for the year.
The company’s consolidated AISC for 2020 was expected to range between $820/oz and $870/oz.
Centerra stated it would spend an estimated $169-million this year, of which $109-million will comprise sustaining capital and $60-million will comprise growth capital spending.
In turn, the growth capital spending will include $29-million at the Öksüt project, in Turkey, as the company completes the construction of the site; $13-million at the Kemess underground project, in British Columbia; and $18-million at the Kumtor mine.
“At Kumtor over the past 18 months we have invested significantly in exploration drilling and at year-end we can see the results as Kumtor’s openpit measured and indicated gold mineral resources increased by 3.3-million contained ounces to 6.3-million contained ounces and openpit inferred gold mineral resources increased by 1.2-million contained ounces to 1.4-million contained ounces.
“We are now in the process of updating Kumtor’s life-of-mine plan and an updated technical report which we plan to release in the second half of 2020,” the company said.
Centerra decided to reduce the number of staff and operations at the Öksüt project from March 31 for an initial two weeks.
The decision was taken in response to the Turkish government implementing initiatives to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
The project’s reductions mean that openpit mining activities will be suspended, but small crews will remain on site to place ore on the heap leach pad and perform essential site services.
At the Kumtor and Mt Milligan mines, operations will continue for the time being, with proactive measures to prevent the spread of the virus being implemented on site.