Acacia Mining’s gold production for Q1 2018 in Tanzania indicated a 55% decrease on Q1 2017, primarily driven by the move to reduced operations at Bulyanhulu and to stockpile processing at Buzwagi.
Gold ounces sold for the quarter of 116,955 ounces were slightly below gold produced for the quarter as a result of the timing of shipments.
At North Mara, gold production for the quarter of 76,769 ounces was, as expected, 20% lower than Q1 2017’s strong, grade-driven performance of 96,468 ounces.
This was primarily due to lower head grade, driven by the underground mine grade of 7 grams per tonne being 28% lower than the prior year period as a result of mining taking place in the lower-grade west zone of the Gokona Underground in Tanzania.
At Buzwagi, gold production of 35,685 ounces for Q1 2018 was 41% lower than in Q1 2017 as a result of production now being derived from lower grade ore stockpiles due to the effective completion of the open pit.
At Bulyanhulu, gold production for the quarter amounted to 8,527 ounces, 87% below Q1 2017.
During the quarter all production came from the retreatment of tailings as a result of the underground mine in Tanzania being placed on reduced operations in late 2017.
“Acacia Mining continued to demonstrate resilient operating performance and delivered solid production of 120,981 ounces of gold in the first quarter across the group, which sets us in good stead to deliver against our full year guidance of 435,000 – 475,000 ounces,” says Peter Geleta, Interim CEO.
“All three of our operations delivered in line with their respective mine plans and we were pleased to record an increase in our cash balance to US$107 million, driven by the sale of a non-core royalty that completed in January 2018, which helped to further stabilise our balance sheet.”
“The cash balance as at 31 March 2018 amounted to approximately $107 million and increased by $26 million during the quarter, with net cash increasing by $40 million to approximately $50 million at period end.
“During the quarter we repaid a further US$14 million of the CIL debt facility and received $45 million from the sale of a non-core royalty, announced in December 2017,” concludes Geleta.