Sibanye Stillwater gold production SA operations 5% higher

Production from the SA gold operations for Q1 2021 of 7,757kg (249,392oz) was 5% higher than for Q1 2020 and reflected the return to normalised production levels in November 2020, following the COVID-19 disruptions that year. AISC of R772,572/kg (US$1,606/oz) was 4% higher than for the comparable period in 2020.

Underpinned by this stable operational performance and combined with a 8% increase in the average gold price year on year to R857,126/kg (US$1,782/oz), adjusted EBITDA from the SA Gold operations of R1,376 million (US$92 million) for Q1 2021, was 22% higher than for the comparable period in 2020.

Underground production from the Driefontein operation increased by 18% to 2,220kg (71,375oz) year-on-year. The average yield from underground production was 14% higher than the previous period due to higher face grades and an improvement in mining quality, with the mine call factor improving by 7% on the previous comparable period in 2020. AISC of R731,851/kg (US$1,522/oz) was 7% lower than for Q1 2020 primarily as a result of the increase in gold sold.

Production of 2,010kg (64,623oz) from the Kloof underground operations was similar to Q1 2020, with improved underground throughput offsetting a lower underground yield. The underground operations were affected by safety stoppages and seismicity during the period, which temporarily restricted access to some higher grade areas.

Production from surface sources of 487kg (15,657oz), was 25% higher year-on-year. Some surface sources from Kloof were toll treated at the Driefontein and Ezulwini metallurgical plants. AISC of R844,744/kg (US$1,756/oz) was 4% higher than for Q1 2020, primarily due to increased throughput of lower grade material.

Underground production from the Beatrix operation of 1,317kg (42,342oz), was 11% lower than for Q1 2020, primarily due to a slower than anticipated start-up post the December break, safety stoppages and temporary damage to infrastructure at Beatrix 4 shaft relating to a mud rush, which has since been repaired.

Beatrix employs a higher proportion of foreign nationals (primarily from Lesotho) than the other operations, with COVID-19 related restrictions at border posts, affecting the return to work after the December break.

Gold production from surface sources increased to 61kg (1,961oz) due to the higher gold price, which reduced the pay limits for surface sources, making it viable to utilise existing milling capacity to process lower grade surface material. AISC of R882,082/kg (US$1,834/oz) was 18% higher than for Q1 2020, primarily due to lower production.

Surface gold production from Cooke operations decreased by 6% to 280kg (9,002oz) mainly due to an expected decrease in grades. Care and maintenance costs at Cooke operations was in line with Q1 2020 at R136 million (US$9 million).

DRDGOLD delivered another consistent operating performance, with production of 1,382kg (44,432oz) for Q1 2021, 3% higher than for Q1 2020. AISC costs of R648,129/kg (US$1,348/oz) were 12% higher than for Q1 2020.

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