Acacia Mining has achieved a 51% increase in production at its Tanzanian operations for the second quarter of 2019 compared to Q1 of the year.
The positive result is mainly due to the successful implementation of a revised mining plan at North Mara for both the underground and open pit mines which saw production at the mine increase by 80% over the period.
Overall Acacia Mining achieved gold production of 158 774oz in Q2 2019 with a particularly strong quarter from North Mara, which set a monthly production record of 47 849oz for the month of June.
Gold production of 158 774oz was 19% higher than the prior year period mainly due to 39% higher production at North Mara, offset by expected reductions in production at Buzwagi and Bulyanhulu.
At North Mara, after successfully addressing the unanticipated production issues experienced in Q1 2019, gold production for Q2 2019 rose sharply to 119 113oz, 39% higher than the prior year of 85 920. This improvement was driven by the mining of higher grade areas at the Gokona underground mine as well as increased volumes at higher grades from the Nyambirama open pit mine, combined with a 4.0% improvement in throughput and a 1.7% improvement in plant recovery rates.
Increase in earnings
Interim CEO, Peter Geleta added: “North Mara achieved a head grade of 5.4 g/t in Q2 2019 compared to 4.1 g/t in Q2 2018 and 3.0 g/t in Q1 2019. Notably Q2 2019 production was 80% above Q1 2019 production of 66 324oz, with Q1 2019 having been negatively impacted by the fall of ground at the Gokona underground mine and an excavator breakdown in the Nyambirama open pit.
“Significantly, during the quarter the Gokona underground mine commenced ore development in the high grade GB2 area, which is the faulted offset continuation of the high grade Golden Banana zone that has been mined since 2015. Ounces from ore development and the first stope were extracted in June, which produced approximately 20 000oz of contained gold at a grade of 27.5 g/t. Further stoping in GB2 is scheduled in Q3 2019 and is expected to support the current higher production volumes."
Buzwagi gold production of 30 283oz for the quarter, although 19% lower than the prior year of 37 415oz was in line with expectations and 6% higher than Q1 2019 production of 28 577oz.
Bulyanhulu produced 9 377 gold ounces for the quarter which was in line with expectations, although 10% lower than the prior year of 10 443oz and 6% lower than Q1 2019 production of 9 999oz.
Geleta explains that Q2 2019 production was impacted by the expected lower grades recovered from the retreatment of tailings and the resultant lower recovery rates, partly offset by improvements in plant throughput. All production continued to be produced from the retreatment of tailings as a result of the underground mine being placed on reduced operations in late 2017.
The cash balance as at 30 June 2019 amounted to approximately US$125 million. This represents an increase in net cash of approximately $27 million during the quarter, primarily resulting from the higher production.