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Ariana Resources PLC (AAU)

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Monday 20 May, 2019

Ariana Resources PLC

KIZILTEPE QUARTERLY OPERATIONAL UPDATE

RNS Number : 4646Z
Ariana Resources PLC
20 May 2019
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 May 2019

AIM: AAU

 

KIZILTEPE QUARTERLY OPERATIONAL UPDATE

 

Ariana Resources plc ("Ariana" or "the Company"), the exploration and development company operating in Turkey, is pleased to announce its operating results for the quarter ended 31 March 2019 for the Kiziltepe Mine ("Kiziltepe" or "the Project").  Kiziltepe is part of the Red Rabbit Joint Venture ("JV") with Proccea Construction Co. and is 50% owned by Ariana through its shareholding in Zenit Madencilik San. ve Tic. A.S. ("Zenit").

 

Operational Highlights*:

 

·  Gross income for the quarter is US$10.86 million and at an average realised gold price of US$1,311 per ounce, against an average revenue per gold ounce of US$1,489 (due to silver credit).

 

·    Production of 7,296 ounces of gold during the quarter ending 31 March 2019.

 

·    Operating cash costs for the quarter are estimated at US$399 per ounce#.

 

·    Operational mill availability running at 99% and utilisation at 95% for the period. 

 

·    46,825 tonnes ore milled during the period ending 31 March 2019 at an average head grade of 4.83 g/t Au. 

 

·    Process recoveries of gold remain high at 93.7% at the end of the quarter. 

 

* All figures are given gross with respect to the JV.

 

 

Dr. Kerim Sener, Managing Director, commented: 

 

"These first quarter results for the Kiziltepe Mine reflects a solid start to 2019 and continues to demonstrate the efficiency of our JV operations.  Operating cash costs per ounce continue to remain low, despite the high strip ratios incurred during the pushback of the southern pit wall at Arzu South.  This was helped by the planned draw down on stockpiles, maintenance of significant by-product silver credit and high grades through the plant during the period. 

 

"As at the end of the quarter, 60% of the JV construction capital loan of US$33 million had been repaid, and by the end of the June quarter we are expecting to be almost 70% repaid. Monthly intercompany loan repayments and dividends from the JV to our wholly owned subsidiary, Galata Madencilik San. ve Tic. Ltd., reached approximately US$2.7 million by the end of Q1 2019."

 

 

Current Developments:

 

·    Production of ore from the open-pit was 24,686 tonnes (dry) over the period, with a peak rate of over 10,987 tonnes achieved in March.

 

·    Gross capital loan repayments by Zenit to Turkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi A.S. have been made on their scheduled basis and have amounted to US$19.6 million in aggregate as at the end of March 2019 (c. US$13.4 million remaining); c. US$3.2 million was repaid in Q1 2019.

 

·   Ore production from the open pit will remain restricted during Q2 and Q3 2019 due to the continuation of work on the pushback of the southern wall of the Arzu South pit, although this is not expected to impact output significantly.  

 

* All production figures are quoted gross with respect to the JV in this announcement.

 

# Operating cash costs are inclusive of on-site costs and off-site charges and royalties specific to the project. It also includes adjustments for stockpile balances at the end of each quarter, in addition to an adjustment for by-product silver. They exclude finance costs, taxes and development capital. The definition used to derive the cash costs is essentially the same as that used within the feasibility study. This cash cost was calculated based on unaudited figures obtained from Zenit.

 

Table 1: Production statistics for the Kiziltepe Mine in Q1 2019 and for the period mid-March 2017 to end-March 2019 (life of mine to date). 

 

Gold produced

Troy Ounces

7,296

7,517

44,561

Silver produced

Troy Ounces

84,109

90,881

391,357

Gross income (gold/silver sold)

US$'000

10,860

10,623

62,698

Operating cash cost of production

US$/oz

399

349

n/a(1)

Average realised gold price

US$/oz

1,310.71

1,237.51

1,271.00

Average revenue per gold ounce(2)

US$/oz

1,488.51

1,413.26

1,407.05

 

(1)        Cash costs are not provided for the purposes of the life of mine due to the operation having been in ramp-up during part of the period. Costs incurred during the ramp-up period are not reflective of estimated operating costs over the longer term.   

 

(2)       Average revenue per gold ounce accounts for both the gold and silver sold during the period and is calculated by dividing the gross income by only the gold ounces sold in the period. 

 

Summary of Project

 

The Kiziltepe operation is currently expected to deliver approximately an average of 20,000 oz gold equivalent per annum over eight years of initial mine life, for a total of up to 160,000 oz gold equivalent based on current resources. The operating company, Zenit Madencilik San. ve Tic. A.S. (50:50 JV between Ariana and Proccea) will continue to make repayments against its loan from Turkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi A.S. based on a contractual schedule. Construction capital loan repayments will have been completed by April 2020 and, during this time, excess cash-flow from the operation is being used to make proportional repayments of loans provided by Ariana and Proccea jointly to the JV for exploration and development respectively. After the repayment of all loans, profits from the operation will be shared on a 51:49 basis between Ariana and Proccea respectively.

 

Commercial production was initiated at Kiziltepe during July 2017 and formal quarterly production reporting commenced. The Company also completed a new resource estimate for the project based on recent drilling and geological interpretation. Detailed technical and economic assessments will be completed on several satellite vein systems which are not currently in the mining plan, in anticipation of these being developed in future years. The Company is currently targeting a minimum ten-year mine life, which will require the addition of a further 40,000 oz gold equivalent in reserves outside of the four main pits (Arzu South, Arzu North, Banu and Derya) that are currently scheduled to be mined. Management is confident that this can be achieved assuming the conversion of existing resources to reserves.

 

This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014.

 

 

Contacts:

 

Ariana Resources plc

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7407 3616

Michael de Villiers, Chairman

 

Kerim Sener, Managing Director

 

 

 

Beaumont Cornish Limited

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7628 3396

Roland Cornish / Felicity Geidt

 

 

 

Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7886 2500

Atholl Tweedie / James Stearns

 

 

 

Yellow Jersey PR Limited

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3004 9512

Felicity Winkles / Tim Thompson / Harriet Jackson

/ Henry Wilkinson

[email protected]

 

 

Editors' Note

 

About Ariana Resources:

 

Ariana is an exploration and development company with mining operations focused on epithermal gold-silver and porphyry copper-gold deposits in Turkey, the largest gold producing country in Europe. The Company is developing a portfolio of prospective licences originally selected on the basis of its in-house geological and remote-sensing database, which now contain a total of 1.6 million ounces of gold and other metals (as at end-2017). Ariana's objective is to cost-effectively add value to its projects through focused exploration and to develop its operations, primarily through well-financed joint ventures. 

 

The Company's flagship assets are its Kiziltepe and Tavsan gold projects which form the Red Rabbit Gold Project. Both contain a series of prospects, within two prolific mineralised districts in the Western Anatolian Volcanic and Extensional (WAVE) Province in western Turkey. This Province hosts the largest operating gold mines in Turkey and remains highly prospective for new porphyry and epithermal deposits. These core projects, which are separated by a distance of 75km, form part of a 50:50 Joint Venture with Proccea Construction Co. The Kiziltepe Sector of the Red Rabbit Project is fully-permitted and is currently in production. The total resource inventory at the Red Rabbit Project and wider project area stands at c. 605,000 ounces of gold equivalent (as at end-2017). At Kiziltepe a Net Smelter Return ("NSR") royalty of up to 2.5% on production is payable to Franco-Nevada Corporation. At Tavsan an NSR royalty of up to 2% on future production is payable to Sandstorm Gold.

 

In north-eastern Turkey, Ariana owns 100% of the Salinbas Gold Project, comprising the Salinbas gold-silver deposit and the Ardala copper-gold-molybdenum porphyry among other prospects. The total resource inventory of the Salinbas project area is c. 1 million ounces of gold equivalent. An NSR royalty of up to 2% on future production is payable to Eldorado Gold Corporation.

 

Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited are broker to the Company and Beaumont Cornish Limited is the Company's Nominated Adviser.

 

For further information on Ariana you are invited to visit the Company's website at www.arianaresources.com.

 

Glossary of Technical Terms:

 

"Au" chemical symbol for gold;

 

"g/t" grams per tonne;

 

"oz" Troy ounces.

 

 

Ends.

 


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