Roxgold reports its preliminary production results for the first quarter of 2020 from the its Yaramoko Mine Complex located in Burkina Faso.
“Yaramoko continues to operate well with a strong quarter to start the year with tonnage and grades ahead of expectations,” says Roxgold President and CEO John Dorward.
“During these challenging times, we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our workforce and local communities.
“Mining and production activities have continued uninterrupted, which is a testament to the dedication and fortitude of our team at site.
“As a company, we remain confident that we can effectively navigate and respond to this rapidly evolving pandemic.
“The Yaramoko operation has bolstered its safeguards and risk mitigation efforts to limit the impacts of the virus, while the company has strengthened its liquidity position in order to minimize the exposure to operating and financial risks in the market.
“Looking ahead, we are eagerly anticipating the release of the Séguéla Gold Project PEA shortly and look forward to highlighting the details of what we believe will be Roxgold’s second cornerstone asset.”
The Yaramoko Mine Complex produced 32,380 ounces, based on processing 125,879 tonnes at an average grade of 8.7 grams per tonne and average mill recoveries of 97.9%.
Mining activities continued to see strong ore production with a total of 134,472 tonnes of ore mined and 1,453 metres of development. Decline development in the 55 Zone has now reached the 4754 level, which is approximately 560 metres below surface, with increased ore drive development.
Ore development at Bagassi South has commenced on the 5095 level, which is approximately 220 metres below surface, while the decline continues to advance as planned. Good progress on ore development has seen the Bagassi South mine largely developed, providing additional stoping access for the remainder of the year.
The processing plant availability was 96.4% in the quarter and reported an average throughput rate of 1,383 tonnes per day exceeding nameplate capacity by approximately 26%.
Average throughput was lower in the quarter due to a planned 39-hour mill shut down for a complete mill relining. Gold ounces sold of 30,126 ounces were lower than production due to the timing of gold shipments at the end of the quarter.
Update on COVID-19 response
Management of the current global COVID-19 crisis is ongoing. Operations at Yaramoko currently remain unaffected with heightened preventative measures and response plans in place to mitigate and minimize any potential impacts from the virus.
The Company is continually assessing the health and safety risks to the Company’s personnel and contractors at its operations and offices.
On the 22 March 2020, the Company announced that two contractors at the Yaramoko mine in Burkina Faso tested positive for COVID-19. Both cases experienced only mild symptoms and have now recovered.
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Additionally, a majority of the previously isolated workers who were identified via contact-tracing have returned to the workforce after completing their prescribed isolation periods and testing.
The Company has continued to enhance its testing and on-site medical support as well as reducing all non-essential mine site personnel. It has also increased the supply chain thresholds for consumables which will enable the mine to operate for extended periods.
While Yaramoko continues to operate in accordance with the annual operating plan, several contingency plans have been developed in the event that underground mining rates were affected by a prolonged Covid-19 related interruption.
These options include the processing of surface stockpiles, of which there is approximately four months of low-grade material (~3g/t Au) available.
Roxgold finished the quarter with approximately $50 million of cash and gold doré on hand. The Company strengthened its liquidity position in the quarter following the drawdown of the remaining $15 million of its revolving credit facility to maximise cash reserves and reduce liquidity risk given the volatile and uncertain financial market conditions.
In addition, the Company continues to make regularly scheduled gold shipments from Yaramoko. Earlier this week, the quarter ending gold doré balance of 3,662 ounces, together with an additional 2,974 ounces poured since the start of April, was shipped from site further underpinning the Company’s liquidity position.
Based upon Q1 production results, Roxgold is slightly ahead of expectations and remains on track to deliver between 120,000 and 130,000 ounces of production from Yaramoko absent any significant deterioration in operating conditions.