TSX-listed Roxgold has reported that 40 050 oz of gold were sold with revenue from gold sales totaling $53 226 000. Revenues increased by 24% compared to Q1, 2017 as volume increased by 14%.
This despite the average realized gold price of $1 329 increasing by $100/oz or 8% compared to the same period in 2017.
Roxgold's record gold production in the first quarter of 2018 was driven by improved operating performance in both the mine and processing plant.
During the quarter ended 31 March 31 2018, 88 607 t of ore at 15.05 g/t were extracted from the underground mine along with completing 1 437 metres of development compared to 69 237 t of ore and 1 740 meters of development in the comparable period of the prior year.
The mining tonnage increase of 28% when compared to same period of the prior year is due to increased productivity from stoping activities.
During the first quarter, approximately 75% of ore produced came from stoping which is a result of the extensive development that is in place at Yaramoko, with six open stopes available at the end of the quarter compared to two open stopes at the end of 31 March 2017.
In the first quarter of 2018, decline development at the mine reached the 5015 level, approximately 300 metres below surface, and the bottom of the fifth stoping block.
Ore development commenced on the 5032 level and was completed on the 5049 level.
The mine continues to be well positioned to meet future production requirements with developed reserves for stoping exceeding the company’s 18 months planned stoping objectives.
Reconciliation of mined material against Roxgold's resource model continued to improve in the first quarter of 2018 following the good reconciliation observed in the last quarter of 2017.
Reconciliation performed well both on a tonnage and grade basis with gold production reconciling within 4% of the resource model.
An 11,000 meter drilling program is underway at the 55 Zone targeting the eastern and western extents of the deposit between the 5151 and 5049 levels.
The plant processed a record 71 576 t at an average head grade of 16.8 g/t Au compared to 63 955 t of ore at 17.3 g/t in the same quarter of 2017. This 12% increase is a result of ongoing optimisation at the plant and translates into a unit throughput rate which is 8.4% above nameplate capacity.
Plant availability was 97% during the quarter and overall recovery was 99% during the quarter compared to 94% and 99.2% respectively for the comparative period in prior year.
Based on the foregoing, production increased by 14% as 40 452 oz of gold were poured during the quarter ended 31 March 2018 compared to 35 594 oz for the same period in 2017.
During the quarter, the average market gold price in the first quarter of 2018 was $1,329 per ounce, an increase of $110 per ounce from the first quarter 2017 average of $1,219.
Mine operating expenses represent mining, processing, and mine site-related general and administrative expenses.
Cash operating cost per tonne processed totalled $216/t, which is slightly lower than the $225/t processed achieved during the comparable period in 2017 and 4% higher than the $206/t achieved in the last quarter of 2017.
The variation is mainly due to the change of the SAG mill liner completed during the first quarter of 2018.
The cash operating cost per ounce produced totaled $381/t for the period. This 6% decrease compared to the same period in 2017 is due to the lower cash operating cost per tonne processed and the higher gold production.
The total cash cost per ounce sold of $451 reflects the higher royalty rate paid during the first quarter of 2018 of 5% compared to a rate of 4% during the first quarter of 2017 as the average gold price during the period was above $1 300/oz.
Consequently, Roxgold generated a mining operating margin of $878 up 13% from $775 per ounce for the same period in 2017.
During the first quarter of 2018, Roxgold invested $6 573 000 in underground mine development, representing a sustaining capital cost per ounce sold of $164 while the Company invested $7 906 000 at a sustaining capital cost per ounce sold of $226 in the comparable period in 2017.
The investments are in line with the 2018 mine plan.
In the first quarter of 2018, Roxgold generated cash flow from mining operations totalling $30 872 000 (Q1 2017 - $23,747,000), a site AISC of $615 per ounce sold (Q1 2017 - $680/oz sold) and AISC including corporate costs totaled $658/oz sold (Q1 2017 - $720/oz).