Perseus Mining Limited’s (ASX:PRU) two producing gold mines, namely Edikan in Ghana and Sissingué in Côte d’Ivoire, produced a combined total of 57,983 ounces of gold during the March 2020 quarter compared to 69,155 ounces in the prior period.
The company maintained its targeted cash margin of more than US$400 per ounce of gold produced, generating a notional cash flow of about US$24 million from operations during the quarter.
Sissingué continued delivering strong results, while temporary technical challenges (since addressed) detracted from Edikan’s recent strong production and cost performance.
During the quarter, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a series of challenges to operational continuity at Perseus’s West African operations.
Notwithstanding this, the company has been well placed to weather the crisis with seasoned management teams at each of its West African sites and in Perth, who have successfully managed several crises in West Africa in recent years, including the Ebola outbreak during 2014-2016.
There were no reported cases of COVID-19 at any of Perseus’s three operating sites nor in surrounding communities.
COVID-19 protocols implemented
The Ebola outbreak has provided Perseus with tested crisis management capabilities and systems that are material in guiding the company.
Supply chains for each of Perseus’s operating sites remain open in both Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire although the movement of both local and foreign employees is currently impacted by government-imposed travel restrictions.
Work rosters have been materially extended to accommodate travel restrictions.
The company has implemented a series of protocols at each of its operating sites aimed at eliminating the possibility of infection of its employees.
Yaouré development project on schedule and budget
Significant progress has been made on all fronts at the Yaouré Gold Mine development project in Côte d’Ivoire during the quarter.
Costs are currently under budget and overall development of Yaouré was 52% complete and in line with schedule expectations at the end of the quarter.
Primary crusher foundations
Works required to enable the first pour of gold at Yaouré by the stretch target date of late December 2020 are generally on schedule, although it is noted that slippage to the schedule may occur if current government-imposed travel restrictions arising from the COVID-19 crisis are not relaxed in coming months.
When commissioned, Yaouré will be Perseus’s third gold mine.
While every effort is being applied to maintain ‘business as usual’, and achieving production and costs as close as possible to previously stated guidance remains a top priority, the success of this approach cannot be guaranteed due to the threat of COVID-19.
Perseus has now withdrawn its previously published gold production and cost guidance for the half-year and financial year ending June 30 2020.