Tanzania’s Acacia gold output drops by 50pc

Tuesday April 17 2018

A miner inside the Bulyanhulu gold mine in northern Tanzania. PHOTO | FILE

A miner inside the Bulyanhulu gold mine in northern Tanzania. Gold miner Acacia has reported a 50 per cent drop in its production. PHOTO | FILE 

By ALLAN OLINGO
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Tanzania gold miner Acacia has reported a 50 per cent drop in its production in the first quarter of this year, largely due to a scaling down of operations in one of its mines affected by the dispute with the government.

In its production results released last Tuesday, Acacia reported a sale of 116,955 ounces, slightly below the output for the quarter, as a result of the timing of shipments.

“The group gold production for the quarter was in line with expectations — at 120,981 ounces — a 55 per cent decrease, compared with the first quarter of last year, of 219,620 ounces, primarily driven by the reduced operations at Bulyanhulu (mine) and to stockpile processing at Buzwagi (mine),” said Peter Geleta, the interim chief executive officer.

Low-grade ore

Acacia Mining is confident that the resilient performance in the first quarter puts it in good stead to deliver on its full year target of 435,000-475,000 ounces, which will still be lower that its previous annual estimates for 2015 and 2016.

“All three operations delivered in line with their respective mine plans and we recorded an increase in our cash balance to $107 million, driven by the sale of a non-core royalty in January 2018,” Mr Geleta added.

At North Mara, gold production for the quarter of 76,769 ounces was, as expected, 20 per cent lower than the first quarter of 2017’s grade-driven performance of 96,468 ounces.

At Buzwagi, the 35,685 ounces for Quarter 1 was 41 per cent lower than the 59,856 ounces produced in the same period last year as a result of production now being derived from lower grade ore.

The Bulyanhulu mines had the biggest production fall of 87 per cent, to 8,527 ounces, compared with 63,346 ounces in Q1, 2017.

In February, Acacia entered into talks with Shandong Gold, Zijing Mining Group and China National Gold Group, to sell a stake in its mines for a 50-50 joint venture.

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