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SSR Mining 1Q18 results; production down at Marigold and Puna, up at Seabee

Published by , Assistant Editor
Global Mining Review,

SSR Mining Inc. (SSR Mining) has reported its first quarter 2018 operating results at the company’s three mines. 

President and CEO of SSR Mining Inc., Paul Benson said: "Each of our operations performed well during the quarter. Particularly pleasing was the continued increase in mill throughput at Seabee where our ongoing Operational Excellence initiatives have seen mill throughput and gold production continue to rise since we acquired the mine in 2016."

In the first quarter of 2018, the Marigold mine in Nevada (US) produced 42 960 oz of gold, in line with guidance expectations. Production was 19% less than the previous quarter, due to lower ore stacked in the fourth quarter of 2017. Gold sales totalled 42 078 oz for the quarter. 

During the quarter, 16.2 million t of material were mined, 16% more than the fourth quarter of 2017, reflecting an increase in operating days for the quarter due to a resumption of normal mining activities.  We expect quarterly material movement to increase in the second quarter of 2018, and further in the second half of the year as four additional haul trucks are added to the fleet. Approximately 7.1 million t of ore were delivered to the heap leach pads at an average gold grade of 0.37 g/t. This compares to 5.8 million t of ore delivered to the heap leach pads at a gold grade of 0.37 g/t in the fourth quarter of 2017. The strip ratio was 1.3:1 for the quarter, a 7% decrease compared to the previous quarter.

Seabee Gold Operation, Canada

In the first quarter of 2018, Seabee Gold Operation produced 23 717 oz of gold.  With the commissioning of the new gravity circuit at the end of the quarter, in circuit gold inventory increased by approximately 2400 oz of gold, which is expected to positively impact gold production through the remainder of 2018. Gold sales were 20 012 oz, lower than gold production due to bullion inventory increasing relative to the previous quarter.  

Total ore milled also increased 5% over the previous quarter, with the Santoy mine supplying 73% of ore milled. Following an extensive underground exploration programme, ore extraction at the Seabee mine completed during the first quarter and it is currently undergoing decommissioning in advance of closure later this year.  Going forward, all ore will be sourced from the Santoy mine.

The mill achieved an average throughput of 1036 tpd during the quarter, 7% higher than the previous quarter due to a combination of Operational Excellence initiatives at both the mill and the Santoy mine. Gold recovery remained consistent at 97.4%.

Puna Operations, Argentina

During the first quarter of 2018, the operation produced 0.9 million oz of silver, in line with expected silver production from stockpiles of 1.6 million oz in the first half of 2018. Silver sales were 1.1 million oz for the quarter as concentrate inventories were reduced. The company’s attributable share of silver production and sales in the third quarter was 0.7 million oz and 0.8 million oz, respectively.

According to SSR Mining, Ore was milled at an average rate of 4144 tpd in the first quarter, 14% below the previous quarter. Crusher operations in the first quarter were constrained by construction of the crushed ore stockpile dome and wetter than normal weather conditions.  Ore milled in the first quarter of 2018 contained an average silver grade of 115 g/t, 8% lower than the 125 g/t reported in the fourth quarter of 2017 as we process increasingly lower grade stockpiles. The average silver recovery in the third quarter was 67.7%, marginally above the previous quarter.

Partial Disposal Of Pretium Common Shares

During the first quarter, the compant sold 4 million common shares of Pretium Resources Inc. (Pretium), realising pre-tax net cash proceeds of CAN$35.1 million. At quarter end, SSR Mining held 5 million common shares, representing approximately 2.8% of Pretium.  

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