The Canadian-based Guyana Goldfields Inc is looking to increase gold production at its Aurora Gold Mine in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) this year after recording a decline in 2018. The company currently operates the large gold mining operation in the country.
According to financial records, the company produced 150,450 ounces last year, a decrease of 10,050 ounces compared to production from the prior year. The decrease, it explained, was mainly attributable to a lower head grade of 1.99 g/t Au (2017 – 2.46 g/t Au), offset by higher mill throughputs averaging 7100 tpd (2017 – 6100 tpd).
The daily average mining rate improved by 50 per cent in order to meet the increase in stripping ratio for Rory’s Knoll open pit development. In 2018, the mill processed an average of 7000 tpd, representing a 15 per cent increase compared to an average of 6100 tpd in the prior year.
However, with the Phase 2 mill expansion commissioned in February 2019, it is expected to further improve recovery by up to two per cent, throughout by 10 per cent, and allow for 75 per cent redundancy of the primary crusher.
The Guyana Goldfields’ earnings from mine operations were $36.6 million for 2018, a decline of $21.6 million from the prior year and this was largely driven by increased mining and processing volumes, lower gold ounces sold from lower average head grade and increased production costs. These declines in production costs were offset by lower deprecation and lower cost of sales adjustment.
Consequently, the company finished the year with a cash balance of $82 million and total debt reduced to $40 million, down from $60 million as at the end of 2017. The company elected not to make the voluntary accelerated debt repayment of $20 million during the fourth quarter of 2018, providing the company with additional short-term liquidity. Under the current terms of the loan agreement, the company is scheduled to make eight additional quarterly payments of $5 million to retire the debt over the next two years.
Nevertheless, going forward in 2019, the Canadian-based company expects gold production to be between 145,000-160,000 ounces in 2019. The mid-point of production guidance is 152,500 ounces, which, if achieved, would represent an increase of 1.4 per cent from 2018. The company expects production will be evenly weighted in first and second half of the year.