Pan African has provided its final gold production figures and further operational information for the financial year ended 30 June 2021 (“Reporting Period”). This follows the detailed operational and growth projects update released by the Group in its 21 May 2021 announcement.
Despite the continuing challenges presented by COVID-19 during the financial year, which required the ongoing enforcement of strict operating protocols and preventative measures, Pan African has delivered an excellent operational performance.
Pan African CEO Cobus Loots commented: “We are very pleased with the Group’s operational performance over the last year, and the fact that our team managed to exceed the revised production guidance for this period.
Addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic remains a top priority, with ongoing enhancements to our operating protocols to mitigate the constantly evolving characteristics of the virus that has resulted in an increasing number of infections over multiple ‘waves’. We will continue to rigorously implement preventative and precautionary measures at our operations to maintain the relatively low infection rate to date, and ensure the health and well-being of our employees.
The Group’s improved safety performance is encouraging, and is primarily attributable to an unrelenting focus on safety at all operations, as well as the much improved safety performance at Evander’s 8 Shaft. We continue to strive to enhance safety through our management and staff’s combined efforts, in pursuit of our ultimate goal of “zero harm”.
We have now largely achieved the degearing of our balance sheet, and current debt levels are very manageable, enabling the Group to fund all its capital requirements from internally generated cashflows and existing facilities.
GROUP ANNUAL PRODUCTION
Final Group gold production for FY21 increased by 12.3% to 201,608oz (2020: 179,457oz), exceeding the revised production guidance of approximately 195,000oz referred to in the 21 May 2021 announcement.
Barberton Mines’ underground operations performed very well during the Reporting Period. This was mainly attributable to the increased flexibility achieved at Fairview Mines’ high-grade Main Reef
Complex (MRC) and Rossiter orebodies, with four large platforms (256, 257, 258 and 358 platforms) currently being available for mining in the MRC orebody and three within the Rossiter orebody.
Fairview Mine produced 49,607oz during the FY21 production year (FY20: 38,531oz).
At New Consort Mines’ PC Shaft, the mining of the high-grade free milling gold intersection at the 42 Level target block has contributed to a vastly improved operational performance. Development is currently underway to access additional target blocks within the same area. Production from New
Consort contributed 15,806oz to the FY21 production (FY20: 8,614oz).
Mining of the Thomas orebody at Sheba Mine has assisted Sheba’s production profile for FY21, however the focus is now on accessing high-grade cross fractures within the Zwartkoppie (ZK) orebody on the newly accessed 37 Level. Sheba Mine’s production reduced slightly for the Reporting Period at 19,493oz (FY20: 20,985oz).
The Elikhulu tailings retreatment operation processed the tonnes and head grade as per the mining plan. Unexpected concentrations of carbonaceous material in the lower benches of the Kinross dam negatively impacted gold recoveries, with lower recoveries in H2, while remedial work on the Elikhulu TSF’s lower compartment also restricted tonnage throughputs, resulting in lower gold production in the Reporting Period. This remedial work is complete and Elikhulu is expected to produce ca.55,000oz of gold in FY22, with improved tonnage throughput and higher recoveries from the planned re-mining area.
Production from the BTRP continues according to plan from the currently available surface sources. In the coming years, production at the BTRP is expected to be supplemented with ore from Barberton’s Royal Sheba orebody. Progress with the development of the Royal Sheba project will be provided in the following months.
Following initial difficulties experienced at Evander’s 8 Shaft (as previously reported in the Company’s H1 FY21 results), the remedial work on the shaft barrel was completed, and pillar mining ramped up as per the mine plan. Evander 8 Shaft and surface sources produced 23,352oz in H2, an improvement of 12,607oz from H1.
PRODUCTION GUIDANCE FOR FY22
The Group expects to maintain its production guidance of approximately 195,000oz for the 2022 financial year, materially in line with the actual production of 201,608oz achieved in the 2021 financial year.