Ariana Resources plc, an AIM-listed exploration and development company operating in Europe, has announced the production guidance for 2021 for its joint venture (JV) Kiziltepe Mine. Kiziltepe is 23.5% owned by Ariana through its shareholding in Zenit Madencilik San. ve Tic. A.S.
- Gold production guidance for 2021 from Kiziltepe is expected to be approximately 19 000 oz of gold (Au), approximately 90% above feasibility plan for this approximate stage of mine life.
- Average monthly production is expected at approximately 27 000 t of ore, peaking during 2Q21; a stockpile of over 240 000 t, representing well over a year of current production capacity, has already been built up on site.
- Ore throughput to the mill during 2021 is expected to be approximately 325 000 t, once operating capacity is increased as planned, which represents a 115% increase over the feasibility plan.
- Average grade of gold to be mined during the year is expected to be approximately 2.1 g/t Au and gold recovery is expected to exceed 90%.
- Opencast mining will continue largely at the Arzu North pit during 2021, with some mining being undertaken concurrently at the Derya pit.
- Plant expansion to an operating capacity of up to 500 000 tpy of ore is well underway and scheduled for completion in early 3Q21; new mill has recently been installed.
- Expansion plan being funded through a capital loan of US$6.6 million (inclusive of interest) to Zenit through Turkiye Garanti Bankasi A.S., of which 25% has already been repaid, with nine equal quarterly payments remaining.
Dr Kerim Sener, Managing Director, commented: "This year's production guidance from the JV follows on from the completion of our arrangements with Ozaltin Holding A.S. and Proccea Construction Co. With the enhanced JV now formally underway, we are pleased to report on JV plans to increase the operational capacity at Kiziltepe. This will see a marked positive impact on production output and will continue to ensure the lowest possible unit costs. During 1Q21, mining has largely focused on the Arzu North opencast, within which significant additional gold mineralisation has been encountered outside of the original mine reserve. This bodes well for JV production plans and may have a positive impact on the mining schedule, which is nominally targeting circa 19 000 oz gold in 2021.
"By early 2020, the entire JV capital development loan of US$33 million was repaid to Turkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi A.S. The JV is currently paying down its remaining working capital loan from the same bank and this is about 70% complete, with US$3.1 million requiring repayment from April to October 2021. A new loan facility of US$6.6 million (inclusive of interest) with Turkiye Garanti Bankasi A.S., providing the capital required for the plant expansion, is already one quarter repaid.
"The continued positive economic environment for gold and silver underpins the performance of the Kiziltepe mine, with both commodities continuing to trade at near 5-year highs. With the growing concerns over unsustainable levels of debt within major economies, gold and silver are expected to continue to hold their time-honoured position in the minds of investors. While the price of oil has risen somewhat since late last year, the Turkish Lira has continued its decline in value relative to the US dollar which will again be reflected in lower dollar-based unit costs.
"Meanwhile, precautions are continuing to be undertaken at the mine site against COVID-19. While issues associated with the pandemic have not impacted gold production directly, some supply issues have been encountered, specifically in the context of the plant expansion programme. Despite this, the plant expansion is still expected to be concluded by early 3Q21 and factored into the JV production guidance accordingly.
"With the wider JV now in place, we intend to advance our collective interests in Turkey, continue with exploration and development on behalf of the JV, progress with Ariana's earn-in and the exploration programmes planned in Cyprus, as well as pursuing separate opportunities elsewhere in Eastern Europe. As such, 2021 is set to be an exciting year for the company and we look forward to updating the market on these activities in due course."
Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/mining/15032021/ariana-resources-provides-2021-jv-production-guidance/
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