Aim-listed Shanta Gold achieved the first gold pour at its Singida gold mine, in Tanzania, on March 30, increasing production to about 100,000 oz/y of gold, the company highlighted in its quarter one production report released this week.
The ramp-up at Singida is progressing, with 2 200 oz produced in the first 22 days of April, the company reported.
“Shanta is now a 100 000 oz/y gold producer with a diversified resource base, a derisked balance sheet, and significantly more financial flexibility. Ramp up at the site is progressing well . . . We expect to announce our 2023 production guidance and five-year plan in this quarter,” said Shanta CEO Eric Zurrin, who will be stepping down after six years with the company at the end of quarter three, once the interim results are published.
The board has initiated a recruitment process to appoint a new CEO.
“The business today is vastly improved from that which [Zurrin] took over in 2017 and he has transformed Shanta from a single asset, single country gold producer encumbered with debt to a business with a diversified revenue base and . . . attractive exploration growth,” Shanta chairperson Tony Durrant said.
The New Luika gold mine, also in Tanzania, produced 15 317 oz in the same quarter.
Zurrin noted that this figure was slightly lower than budget owing to temporarily reduced availability of underground equipment in February, which was rectified in March, and generally excessive rains.
He said that, despite this, gold production for both January and March was above budgeted production, and that April production was on track for about 6 000 oz.
“We remain confident of hitting full-year guidance at the mine of 66 000 oz to 72 000 oz,” Zurrin said.
Moreover, the company said that it had received value-added tax refunds and offsets of $5.7-million in the first quarter.
Shanta also maintained a clean safety record, with a total recordable injury frequency rate of nil for both Singida and New Luika.
In terms of finances, the company had cash and available liquidity of $11.5-million at the end of March, along with gross debt of $29.1-million.
New Luika milled 217 479 t from underground and openpit sources during the quarter. The mine’s average head grade was 2.52 g/t gold, with an average recovery of 87.1%. The Singida gold mine has produced an average head grade of 3.15 g/t gold and an ore stockpile level of 194 196 t, grading an average of 2.7 g/t gold.
During the period, the West Kenya project saw its total resources increase to 1.76-million ounces, grading 5.55 g/t gold, with Shanta noting its plans to restart drilling in the coming weeks.
“We are excited by the potential for West Kenya to become one of Africa’s next high-grade gold mines,” Zurrin said.
The company has also reiterated its commitment to its corporate social responsibility initiatives, with ongoing construction of classrooms, toilets, teachers’ offices and a maternity clinic in host communities, as well as a sponsorship programme for underprivileged students.
CHANGES IN MANAGEMENT
In addition to Zurrin’s exit, Shanta has proposed the appointment of graphite development company SRG Mining president and CEO Matthieu Bos as an independent nonexecutive director pending the completion of regulatory due diligence.
Bos is a trained metallurgist and former mining investment banker with experience across Africa. He previously worked as Ivanhoe Mines executive VP Africa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Bos was a key member of the team that delivered the Kamoa-Kakula copper project in the DRC and was actively involved in $3-billion worth of financing from various strategic and institutional investors, including Zijin Mining and CITIC Metal.
Source: Mining Weekly