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Thor reports higher first-quarter profit, despite lower revenue

Exploration at Douta

Exploration at Douta

30th May 2024

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

     

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Aim-listed Thor Explorations has revealed a year-on-year decline in revenue but a significant boost in net profit for the first quarter.

In its operational and financial review for its Segilola gold mine in Nigeria, as well as for the company's mineral exploration properties in Nigeria and Senegal for the three months to March 31, Thor reported revenue of $33.3-million, down from $40.3-million in the first quarter of 2023.

However, net profit rose from $3-million in the first quarter of 2023 to $12.4-million in the quarter under review

The company said these figures were attributable to a lower-cost medium- and high-grade stockpile being fed through the mill, resulting in a lower-than-expected cash operating cost of $418/oz sold and an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $632/oz sold.

During the quarter under review, Thor sold 17 420 oz of gold at an average gold price of $2 033/oz. 

As such, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) also went up year-on-year, from $14.7-million to $23.3-million.

At the end of the period, cash and cash equivalents amounted to $2.8-million, down from $4.5-million in 2023, while the company’s senior debt facility was reduced to $15.2-million, with net debt of $14.3-million as at March 31.

“We completed an improved operational and financially profitable period which included a material paydown of our senior debt facility. The main operating units continue to perform better than expected and operate above capacity.

“We expect this to continue through to the end of the year and, as such, our guidance remains unchanged, at between 95 000 oz and 100 000 oz for the year,” Thor president and CEO Segun Lawson said on May 30.

At Segilola, gold recovered for the period totalled 19 589 oz, while the mill feed grade was 2.85 g/t gold with recovery at 90.71%. The company reported that the process plant maintained the productivity levels achieved during the fourth quarter of last year, which was higher than the design specifications. Good throughput rates were achieved owing to all the main operating units performing better than expected.

Additionally, a leach circuit tank upgrade aimed at reducing the gold in circuit was completed during the quarter.

Near-mine exploration at Segilola during the period prioritised working up near-mine drill targets, as well as carrying out structural studies aimed at designing drill programmes for the Segilola underground resource in the second quarter.

A 10 000 m drilling programme is expected to start in June, with a likely increase to the size of the drilling programme should there be successful drilling results, Thor said. The company is aiming to define an updated underground resource before the end of the year.

“Following our exploration work in quarter one, we have now commenced follow up drilling programmes targeted at extending the Segilola mine life, with the priority being the Segilola underground resource.

“The drilling programmes are designed to increase the existing defined underground resource as well as explore untested target areas underneath the current openpit that were generated in quarter one,” Lawson said.
 
Meanwhile, the acquisition of the Douta-West licence was completed post-period. The licence lies contiguous to Thor’s existing Douta permit and contains advanced exploration targets.

Thor’s strategy is to combine both licences and scale up the size of a combined Douta project for the Douta preliminary feasibility study (PFS). The Douta PFS workstreams are ongoing, alongside the growth of the oxide component of the resource across both licences, the company said.

This growth will add to the existing mineral resource estimate that currently comprises about 1.78-million ounces of gold.

A 15 000 m drilling programme started after the period and is targeted at growing the current oxide component of the resource from about 250 000 oz to over 500 000 oz over the next six months.

“At Douta, we have ramped up exploration following the acquisition of the Douta-West licence. With the PFS workstreams ongoing, we believe we can grow  the shallow oxide component of the resource, which will be value accretive to the overall project, and have committed to 15 000 m of drilling on this project,” Lawson said.

Looking ahead, the company plans to advance its exploration programmes across its portfolio for the remainder of the year, including near-mine and underground projects at Segilola, extension and infill programmes at Douta and the assessment of potential targets in Nigeria.

Moreover, Thor plans to continue with the advancement of the Douta project towards PFS with the objective of completion in the fourth quarter. Continued advancement of exploration programmes across the portfolio are also expected.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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