"We expect our margins to increase further still as we continue to ramp up production from both high grade, underground mines and as we transition to being an underground-only producer at both operations during 2018," highlights president and CEO of Golden Star Resources Sam Coetzer.
"The third quarter has been an exciting period for Golden Star on the exploration front too, as we demonstrated that Wassa underground is a larger ore body than we previously estimated and that it remains open at depth," he continues.
"The current exploration programme is at an early stage at Prestea underground, but the initial results have been encouraging and we should begin drilling down plunge later this quarter to access the longer term targets.
"At the end of the third quarter, we are on track to achieve our consolidated 2017 full year production guidance on all stated metrics and I look forward to updating the market on further exploration results over the coming months," adds Coetzer.
Golden Star Q3, 2017 overview
In the third quarter of 2017 Golden Star Resources produced 73 827 oz of gold. (Representing the sixth consecutive quarter of gold production growth).
Accordingly, it also represents the strongest quarter of wholly non-refractory production since the company's inception.
This compelling result was achieved as a result of the fifth consecutive quarter of record gold production from the Prestea open pits (38 899 oz), including the Mampon deposit, which represents a 71% increase compared to Q3, 2016.
It was also due to the continued out performance by the mining team at Wassa underground in achieving significantly higher daily mining rates during the third quarter of 2017 than targeted for the year (1 400 tpd).
The average mining rate during the period was over 2 200 tpd, which also represents a 40% increase compared to the second quarter of 2017.
The third quarter of 2017 was also a notable quarter from a cost perspective, as it delivered the lowest cash operating cost per ounce in seven years and the lowest AISC per ounce since Golden Star Resources began reporting this metric four years ago.
Golden Star Resources' consolidated cash operating cost per ounce was $671 in the third quarter of 2017, a 30% decrease compared to Q3, 2016, due to the 38% decrease in the cash operating cost per ounce at the Prestea gold mine (Prestea) and the 23% decrease at the Wassa gold mine (Wassa).
The consolidated AISC per ounce was $848, a 26% decrease compared to Q3, 2016, and the consolidated cost of sales per ounce was $855, a 26% decrease compared to the same period in 2016.
From a development perspective, Golden Star Resources made robust progress during the third quarter of 2017.
The successful blasting of the initial ore from the first stope in the West Reef ore body at Prestea underground took place in late September 2017.
During the third quarter of 2017 the mine delivered 3 204 oz of gold and production is expected to continue to ramp up as the mine moves towards commercial production. This is anticipated to be achieved during the fourth quarter of 2017.
At Wassa, the company has decided to delay the next pushback of Wassa main pit, cut 3, until a time when the gold price is higher and the open pit will deliver higher margin ore.
From early 2018 Wassa will become solely an underground operation as the company focuses on producing higher grade, higher margin ounces that will generate the strongest cash flow.
At the end of the first nine months of 2017, Golden Star Resources had produced 195 796 oz of gold.
This represents 73% of the mid-point of the company's full year 2017 guidance range for gold production.
Feature image credit: Wikimedia