Western Australian gold producer Ramelius produced 56 756 oz of gold at an all-inclusive sustaining cost (AISC) of A$2 153/oz during the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2022.
Ramelius owns and operates the Mt Magnet, Edna May, Vivien, Marda, Tampia and Penny gold mines.
At period’s end, the ASX-listed miner held cash and gold totalling A$154-million, after having paid A$7.2-million in dividends, A$10.3-million in underground development at its Penny and Galaxy mines, A$9.2-million in a new openpit operation at its Marda mine and A$7.7-million in group exploration and resource definition.
Gold sales for the fourth quarter were 4% higher than the third quarter, at 62 088 oz.
Ore haulage from Tampia and Marda to the Edna May plant increased by 13% quarter-on-quarter, despite a slowdown during the December festive period.
Ramelius notes that discussions with ore haulage contractor MLG Oz, have centred around providing enough road-train drivers to meet full budgeted tonnages expected by the second half of the 2023 financial year, with additional drivers becoming available after the imminent completion of Vivien haulage being part of the solution.
During the fourth quarter, Ramelius’ AISC increased 12%, with increases experienced at both Mt Magnet and Edna May operations. Mt Magnet was adversely affected as a result of less high-grade, and lower unit cost, feed from both Vivien and Shannon undergrounds as these mines approach their completion.
At Edna May, the unit costs were impacted by lower grade from the Edna May underground and higher sustaining capital spent on the plant during the quarter.
During the quarter, Ramelius found notable mineralisation at Mt Finnerty, including 8 m of gold mineralisation at a grade of 4.7 g/t from 142 m; and 7 m of mineralisation, grading 3.44 g/t from 166 m.
At the Rebecca project, the miner found gold mineralisation of 18 m at a grade of 1.4 g/t from 230 m; and 20 m of mineralisation, grading 1.39 g/t from 222 m.
Total drill meterage for the period was 12 703 m from 112 drill holes, comprising 5 073 m in 61 aircore drill holes, 4 053 m of reverse circulation drilling in 35 drill holes and 3 577 m of diamond drilling in 16 holes.
During the period under review, Ramelius released a three-year production forecast in which it aims to produce between 240 000 oz and 280 000 oz of gold at an AISC of between A$1 750/oz and A$1 950/oz in the 2023 financial year.
This production increase will see higher volumes of high-grade ore come from the Penny mine and be fed into the Mt Magnet mill.
In the 2024 financial year, the miner intends to increase its production guidance range by 10 000 oz, while lowering AISC to between A$1 500/oz and A$1 700/oz.
By financial year 2025, Ramelius intends to maintain its production at between 250 000 oz and 290 000 oz, with a further drop in AISC to between A$1 400/oz and A$1 600/oz.