Asanko Gold Mine (AGM) has announced that it generated an amount of $104.6 million from gold sales of 67,820 ounces at an average realized price of $1,542 per ounce during the first quarter of 2020.
The mining giant said it also recorded gold production of 66,333 ounces and also mined 1.91 million tonnes (“Mt”) of ore, including 0.59Mt of ore from Esaase.
It also processed 1.40Mt of ore with an average gold grade of 1.6 grams per tonne (“g/t”)
“The Asanko Gold Mine had its best quarter since commercial production began four years ago,” said Greg McCunn, Chief Executive Officer. “The mine continued its strong operational performance with record quarterly gold production and gold sales proceeds. In addition, the continued focus on capital spending discipline also resulted in the AGM posting its lowest quarterly AISC performance. The operational team has done a fantastic job in implementing strict health and safety protocols and supply chain management processes required for COVID-19, while still delivering an outstanding quarter. The strong performance of the operations enabled the joint venture to distribute $45m to the joint venture partners during Q1.
“As a result of receiving $22.5m in distributions from the AGM, the Company’s financial position continued to strengthen with our corporate cash and receivables balance increasing to approximately $54 million at quarter-end with no debt. During the quarter, the Company used $2 million to repurchase shares under its Normal Course Issuer Bid, and we are currently continuing with this program.”
Further to the Company’s update on COVID-19 on March 31, 2020, there continue to be no known or presumptive cases of COVID-19 with employees of Asanko or at the AGM. The Company’s offices in Vancouver, Johannesburg and Accra all remain closed with employees working from home and observing local regulations. The AGM has been operating with strict hygiene, monitoring and social distancing protocols in place in accordance with the Ghanaian Ministry of Health guidelines. The AGM has continued to build its supply chain and now holds 8-9 months of key reagents, consumables and critical spares and three months of diesel supply. Doré produced from the AGM has continued to be refined with the AGM’s primary precious metal refiner in South Africa.
Health and Safety
During the quarter, the Company aligned its health and safety reporting standards with those of the International Council on Mining & Metals (“ICMM”). During the quarter, there was one lost-time injury (“LTI”) and four total recordable injuries (“TRI”) reported resulting in a LTI frequency rate (“LTIFR”) of 0.51 per million employee hours worked and a TRI frequency rate (“TRIFR”) of 2.02 per million employee hours worked.
In Q1, the AGM sourced ore from the Nkran, Akwasiso and Esaase pits as well as run of mine stockpiles. During the quarter, 1.73Mt of waste and 1.29Mt of ore at an average gold grade of 1.65 g/t were mined from the Nkran pit. The Esaase pits collectively delivered 0.59Mt of ore at an average gold grade of 1.35 g/t with 3.69Mt of waste mined.
The AGM also re-commenced mining of the Akwasiso pit with 1.62Mt of waste mined and 0.04Mt of ore mined with an averge grade of 1.29 g/t. The AGM is expected to ramp-up ore mining from Akwasiso in Q2.
The processing plant milled 1.40Mt at a gold grade of 1.6 g/t during the quarter with metallurgical recovery averaging 94%. With gold production of 66,333 ounces in Q1, the AGM is on track to deliver its annual guidance of 225,000 to 245,000 ounces for 2020.