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Gold Producer plans to reduce production costs

What became of Guyana Goldfields since their Aurora Mines achieved commercial production in August 2015.

Well, President and CEO Scott A Caldwell has taken Guyana to greater heights. From producing 22,000 ounces in Q4 2015, Guyana has since achieved;

  • 41,281 ounces in Q1 2016
  • 32,053 ounces in Q2 2016
  • 34,400 ounces in Q3 2016
  • 43,800 ounces in Q4 2016
  • 40,900 ounces in Q1 2017
  • 29,700 ounces in Q2 2017
  • 41,000 ounces in Q3 2017
  • 48,740 ounces in Q4 2017

"The fourth quarter was the strongest quarter for gold production in the Company's history, despite undergoing four scheduled down days in November for a mill liner change.

 

The operational improvements and capital investments made throughout the year in the mining fleet, bulk emulsion delivery system, and logistics haulage fleet are yielding operational efficiencies which are expected to translate to lower unit costs in the fourth quarter."

The Company had a record fourth quarter with respect to ore tonnes mined, tonnes milled and gold produced. Gold recoveries continued to trend favourably with gold recovery for the month of December 2017of 92.6% representing the highest monthly recovery in the Company's history.

1. Optimised mine plan provides opportunities to reduce production costs

The company announced in December 2017 that it plans to release an optimised mine plan for its Aurora Gold Mine in Q1 2018, which is expected to smooth the life-of-mine (LOM) production and cost profiles, allowing for consistent operating and financial results while reducing overall capital, operating costs and further improving cash flows.

The Company expects the optimised mine plan to;

(1) reduce capital and operating costs, specifically in the early years of the mine life

(2) accelerate cash flow, and

(3) provide more consistent operating and financial results

Some initiatives which were being investigated included;

  1. Optimisation of pit slopes to reduce the strip ratio.
  2. Utilisation of the Jaw and Cone Crusher from the previously purchased 1,000 tpd modular processing plant to expand overall processing throughput. 
    • Results from a series of bulk test work on expanding pre-crushing capacity have been highly encouraging demonstrating approximately a 3% improvement in grind as well as an approximate 2% overall improvement in gold recovery while still achieving throughput rates above 6,500 tpd of hard rock. The proposed design would eliminate the need to complete the Phase 2 mill expansion (which includes the addition of a ball mill valued at approximately US$27 million). In addition to a large reduction in overall capital costs, the pre-crushing concept is also expected to significantly expedite the timeline required to materially increase throughput rates from current levels.
  3. Shifting from an owner-operated mining fleet to contract mining, which will result in a significant reduction in capital costs from the current estimate of US$24 million.
  4. Optimisation of Timing and Level of the open pit and underground interface at Rory's Knoll, one of four mineralisation zones. This introduces a more selective mining method that will result in a variable cut-off grade strategy.

An Updated mine plan will smooth out large year-over-year fluctuations while delivering further improvements to cash flow and Net Present Value (NPV). The Company expects to deliver the updated mine plan along with an Updated Reserves and Resources statement accounting for 2017 mining depletion, as well as, 2018 production and cost guidance in Q1 2018.

2. Guyana Natural Resources Ministry has confidence in Aurora to help achieve its Project Targeted of 700,000 ounces

Guyana Natural Resources Ministry indicated in October 2017 that they expect total annual production for 2017 to surpass 700,000 ounces of gold declared for the year 2017. The National Budget had actually set a target of 694,000 for the year but they are aiming for 700,000 ounces.

Since the start of 2015, Guyana has paid US$26.5 million in royalties to the State and purchased US$84.1 million in goods and services from local businesses. They have also spent US$197,000 on community projects and donations to the Guyanese organisations.

The Guyana NR Ministry actively supports Producers. In 2016, Gold Producers in the country contributed 705,820 ounces of gold to the Economy, surpassing the Ministry's target of 700,000 ounces. All miners were lauded for the record-breaking feat and were asked to recommit to breaking records again in 2017.

3. Aurora has proven to be a strong high grade asset with exceptional cash flow generation capabilities

To date, Aurora has proven to be strong, with high grade asset and exceptional cash flow generation.The Aurora mines are the biggest in Guyana, a sovereign state on the Northern Mainland of South America but often considered as part of the Caribbean region, with the company’s presence there helping to push gold declarations to a record 700,000 ounces for the last two years.

The CEO said the Company is well-positioned financially to grow near-term production and significantly increase exploration efforts, with an unaudited cash balance of approximately US$75 million at the end of 2017 versus a total debt balance of US$60 million.

About Guyana Goldfields Inc.

Guyana Goldfields Inc. is a Canadian based mid-tier gold producer primarily focused on the exploration, development and operation of gold deposits in Guyana, South America. The 100%-owned Aurora Gold Mine achieved commercial production January 1, 2016 and has a total gold resource of 6.25 million ounces in the measured and indicated categories (59.73 million tonnes at 3.25 g/t Au) as well as an additional 1.79 million ounces in the inferred category (16.58 million tonnes at 3.79 g/t Au). For further details, please refer to the report entitled "Independent Technical Report Updated Feasibility Study, Aurora Gold Mine Project, Republic of Guyana" dated February 2, 2017 available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

About Aurora Gold Project

The Aurora gold project was developed by Guyana Goldfields. Its located in Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Guyana, South America. It is an open-pit and underground mining operation spread across an area of 12km². Open-pit operations are initially targeted at extracting the near-surface saprolite and hard rock ore.

The Company was awarded the mining lease from the Guyanan Government in November 2011. The feasibility study for the project was completed in January 2013 and first gold was poured in August 2015, while commercial production was achieved in January 2016. The processing plant was commissioned in October 2015. The first gold sale also took place in the same month. Aurora’s total gold production is estimated to be 3.3 million ounces (Moz) over its 17-year mine life. Production is anticipated to be 231,000oz in the first ten years, with a peak production rate of 349,000oz in 2020.

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