TSX- and Aim-listed gold miner Avesoro Resources’ two mines in Burkina Faso delivered below-target output for the quarter ended March 31, on the back of lower plant throughput.
The company, which is headed up by CEO Serhan Umurhan, on Thursday reported consolidated gold production of 45 098 oz from the New Liberty and Youga gold mines for the March quarter.
To meet its yearly guidance of between 210 000 oz and 230 000 oz, the mines should have produced closer to a combined 53 000 oz.
New Liberty produced 25 855 oz of gold in the quarter, which was a 5% increase compared with the fourth quarter of 2018, while Youga produced 19 243 oz of gold in the quarter, which was a 6% quarter-on-quarter decrease.
“The quarter saw both the mined grade and plant feed grades increasing quarter-on-quarter at both mines. However, performance at both mines was behind targeted production levels. At New Liberty, this shortfall was a consequence of a lack of available ore faces within the pit during the early part of the quarter.
“The increased focus on waste stripping throughout the first quarter has now resolved this issue and [we] expect to maintain availability of ore for the remainder of the year. At Youga, additional lower-grade ore blocks were mined, which, together with unexpected ore dilution, impacted [on] the average grade of mined ore at the Gassore pit,” Umurhan explained.
He added that, in response to the issues at Youga, smaller excavators were being used to reduce dilution while the haulage capacity of existing haul trucks has been increased to ensure that required ore volumes are transported to the run-of-mine pad.
Umurhan anticipated that Youga would contribute between 90 000 oz and 100 000 oz of gold for the full year, with the balance being compensated for by New Liberty, where the company was in advanced discussion with an openpit mining contractor.
If concluded successfully, the engagement of the contractor was expected to reduce the company’s mining costs below the current internal cost per tonne, while allowing access to additional mining equipment that can increase material movement and outperform the original production guidance at the mine.
Meanwhile, Avesoro intended to complete a mineral resource and mineral reserve update for Youga before the end of the second quarter.