Acacia Mining plc (LON:ACA) today released an operational update.
“I am pleased to announce a rebound in gold production and performance at the start of Q2 to 47,805 ounces for the month. This follows the successful implementation of a revised mining plan at the North Mara mine which saw April gold production at the mine increase to 33,941 ounces, 54% above the monthly average production during Q1. Although still early in the second quarter, I am pleased with the improved production levels now being achieved and remain confident of delivering against our full year production guidance of 500,000 to 550,000 ounces,” said Peter Geleta, Interim Chief Executive Officer, who added, “As we maintain our focus on what we can control, our operating performance during the month, together with public recognition for each of our mines at the National Safety Awards in Mbeya, are testament to the resilience and ongoing commitment of our people and businesses. In the meantime, a negotiated resolution remains our preferred outcome to the Company’s ongoing disputes with the Government of Tanzania. The Company continues to provide support to Barrick Gold Corporation in its direct discussions with the Government and, once these discussions have been successfully concluded, we look forward to receiving and reviewing a proposal for a resolution of Acacia’s disputes agreed in principle between Barrick and the Government.”
Total gold production in April was 47,805 ounces, 37% higher than the monthly average during Q1 2019. This reflects a significant improvement in North Mara production performance through delivery against the revised mining plan announced in the Q1 production update and results releases.
At North Mara, gold production for the month was 33,941 ounces, 52% above the prior month and 54% higher than the monthly average during Q1 2019, mainly driven by an increase in grade from the underground combined with higher grade at the open pit, with a combined head grade through the plant above 4.5g/t as a result of the implementation of revised mine sequencing. Mining rates increased in the open pit with around 1.2 million tonnes moved due to additional equipment and improvements in asset reliability.
Buzwagi gold production of 10,705 ounces for the month was 12% higher than the Q1 2019 monthly average, following the annual maintenance shutdown of Buzwagi during Q1. Bulyanhulu production of 3,159 ounces for the month was in line with prior months.
Acacia’s Tanzanian businesses have also continued their close support for, and work with, their relevant government and community stakeholders, including on operational security and environmental performance, and on a wide range of initiatives and investments into the mines’ local and regional communities, as reported in the Q1 production and results announcements. During the month, some of this work was recognised at the prestigious annual National Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) awards held on 30 April in Mbeya. The North Mara mine was awarded first prize in the OHS Innovation awards category and the Buzwagi mine was awarded first prize in the OHS Community Social Responsibility award category. The Bulyanhulu mine was also awarded a runner-up prize in the OHS Exhibition awards category. Acacia remains a committed investor in Tanzania, in terms of excellence in operational safety, environmental performance and community development, and as a committed supporter of the country’s socio-economic advancement, including the realisation of the Government’s Development Vision 2025.
Acacia has noted comments attributed yesterday to Mr. Mark Bristow, the Chief Executive of Barrick, regarding the status of Barrick’s discussions with the Government of Tanzania (“GoT”), directed to identifying a proposal for a comprehensive resolution of Acacia’s disputes with the GoT including the normalisation of the operating environment for the Company’s businesses going forward.
Acacia is seeking clarification from Barrick regarding Mr. Bristow’s reported comments, not all of which are consistent with Acacia’s own understanding of the position, as well as Barrick’s expectations for the conclusion of their direct discussions with the GoT. In the meantime Acacia confirms that it is continuing to provide support to Barrick in their discussions, although it has not yet received a proposal agreed in principle between Barrick and the GoT for a resolution of Acacia’s disputes. Once Barrick has been able to bring their discussions with the GoT to a successful conclusion, and the Company receives a proposal agreed in principle between Barrick and the GoT, the Independent Committee of the Board of Acacia will be able to decide whether to recommend the proposal to the Company’s shareholders for approval.