DRDGOLD cash operating profit has declined by 62% in the first half of its financial year. For the half-year ended 31 December 2013 “cash operating profit was down 62% on the back of the drop in production, a 14% rise in all-in sustaining unit costs and a 9% decline in the average gold price received,” the company said in a statement.

Nevertheless, DRDGOLD reported a quarter on quarter improvement in gold production of 4%, an increase in operating profit of 17% and a drop in all-in sustaining costs of 14%. The increase in gold production was the result of a 9% increase in the average yield, which offset a 4% drop in throughput.

In the quarter under review, construction of the flotation/fine-grind (FFG) circuit at Ergo’s Brakpan Plant was completed and full production through this circuit was achieved in the third week of January 2014.

“We are pleased that production was back up, but we would have preferred to have had the FFG circuit fully operational by the end of December 2013. That is what we told the market we were aiming for. Unfortunately, delays in getting the last of three thickeners up and running pushed final commissioning back by at least three weeks,” said DRDGOLD CEO Niël Pretorius.