After a solid performance in the third quarter, London- and Toronto-listed Centamin has maintained its production guidance for this year at between 445 000 oz and 455 000 oz.
However, the company has set its guidance lower for next year, at between 400 000 oz and 430 000 oz, while work is ongoing at the Sukari openpit mine, in Egypt, to improve operational flexibility.
The company has started an advanced waste stripping programme to further improve optionality in the openpit, the benefits of which are expected to flow through in 2022.
Centamin explains that, following the movement of waste material in a localised area of the openpit earlier this year, the Stage 4 West wall area has been deferred for mining until it has been rehabilitated, which will impact on production in 2021.
Openpit mining in the fourth quarter and into 2021 will be focused on the lower-grade Stage 5 North area, while the underground operations remain unaffected by the changes to the openpit mine sequencing.
During the third quarter, Centamin generated $137-million in free cash flow, adding up to a balance sheet of $345-million in cash and liquid assets, after $64-million was distributed to the Egyptian government in profit share payments and royalties and second interim dividends totalling $69-million were paid.
Centamin produced 128 240 oz of gold in the third quarter, bringing production for the nine months of the year ended September 30 to 384 324 oz.
The third-quarter output was 31% higher year-on-year, driven by higher mined grades.
The company generated quarterly revenue of $230-milllion from the gold sales of 118 617 oz at an average realised gold price of $1 933/oz.
Centamin notes that its gold sales were 9% higher year-on-year, while a 31% higher gold price this year has helped to boost revenues.
Meanwhile, the company has submitted applications for several new exploration licences in Egypt, while drilling in Côte d'Ivoire continues at the Doropo and ABC exploration projects.
Centamin will, in December, host a presentation on Phase 1 of its life-of-asset review, which includes a detailed three-year outlook for the Sukari mine, cash flow scenario analysis and a series of initiatives aimed at improving costs and productivity.