OceanaGold Corp. has shared its full year and fourth quarter of 2017 production report for the year ended 31 December 2017, in accordance with the Australian Securities Exchange Listing Rule 5.1. Note that the numbers contained in this document are unaudited and subject to finalisation. The company will release its complete 2017 audited financial and operational results before market open on Thursday 22 February 2018 (Toronto Eastern Standard Time).
President and CEO of OceanaGold Corp. said: “We are very pleased to report a strong finish to 2017 for OceanaGold as we achieved record quarterly production leading to the sixth consecutive year that we have achieved our annual guidance. We strengthened our balance sheet as our drawn credit facilities reduced to $200 million following repayments of approximately $73 million from cash flows in the fourth quarter. At the same time, we increased our cash position to $73 million.” He added, “The Haile operation delivered a strong quarter with recoveries above 80% and mill availability around 90% as expected in its first full quarter of commercial operations. The process plant is operating at nameplate capacity and we expect to commence permitting of the expansion in the second quarter.”
“In first quarter of 2018, we expect to commence the permitting process for mine life extensions at Waihi while at Didipio, ore from the first underground stope has been mined and stockpiled at surface, ready for processing. Although production at Didipio will be lower in 2018 compared to last year, the ramp-up of the underground is progressing well and we expect a return to stronger production in 2019 and beyond.”
“We look ahead to 2018 where we have many catalysts across our business and we will continue to advance our exploration programme to create organic value for our shareholders. As always, we continue to employ a strict discipline and approach to investment of any nature by focusing on margin and returns.”
On a consolidated basis, the company produced 574 606 oz of gold in 2017, which was 38% higher year-on-year and on account of new production from the Haile Gold Mine and record annual gold production from Didipio. Fourth quarter 2017 gold production of 166 211 oz was 22% higher than in the previous quarter and due to increased production at Didipio, Macraes and Haile. Copper production in the fourth quarter was 3 687 t.
On a consolidated basis, the company recorded sales of 555 632 oz of gold and 18 091 t of copper including sales of 168 586 oz of gold and 4 842 t of copper in 4Q17. Consolidated unaudited AISC of $617/oz sold was within the guidance range while consolidated unaudited cash costs were $349/oz sold.
In the United States, the Haile Gold Mine produced 118 466 oz of gold, including 50 134 oz of gold in 4Q17. The quarter-on-quarter 60% increase in production was mainly attributable to higher mill feed and improved recoveries. Fourth quarter recoveries averaged 82.6% compared to 70% achieved on average over the first nine months of 2017. The process plant is operating at or above nameplate capacity and the company expects to exceed nameplate throughput in 2018. Production at Haile for 2018 is expected to be stronger than in 2017.
In the Philippines, Didipio achieved record annual gold production and exceeded the top end of its 2017 gold production guidance range with 176 790 oz produced, including 39 256 oz produced in the fourth quarter, while copper production for the year was 18 351 t including 3687 t in 4Q17. Underground ore from panel one is available for processing while development of panel two in the underground has commenced and expected to be completed in 2019. Production at Didipio in 2018 is expected to be lower as mill feed will be predominately sourced from lower-grade stockpiles as the underground operations ramp-up.
In New Zealand, Waihi produced 119 084 oz of gold, including 31 761 oz of gold produced in the fourth quarter. The quarter-on-quarter decrease in production was previously forecast and a result of a lower head grade. Production at Waihi for 2018 is expected to be lower than in 2017 due to mine sequencing where lower grades from the underground will be processed.
At Macraes, the operation produced 160 266 oz of gold, including 45 060 oz of gold produced in 4Q17. The quarter-on-quarter increase in production was attributable to a higher head grade however, production was lower than guided due to delays in accessing higher grade ore from Coronation North. Production at Macraes for 2018 is expected to be higher as the operation is now into higher grade ore at Coronation North, which will be the main source feed for the year.