Centamin gold output jumps, stands by full-year target

Reuters, Thursday 9 Oct 2014

Egypt Sukari mine achieves nameplate capacity of 10 million tonnes per annum after facing issues with lower-grade ore in Q2

Centamin mine
Centamin mine (Photo: Reuters)

Gold miner Centamin Plc reported a 10.5 percent rise in third-quarter output as it mined higher-grade ore at its Sukari mine in Egypt, and maintained it full-year production forecast of 420,000 ounces of gold.

Shares in the company rose as much as 5.5 percent in early trading, making the stock the top percentage gainer on the FTSE-250 Midcap Index.

Production at Sukari, the company's only producing mine, rose to 93,624 ounces in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from 84,757 ounces a year earlier.

Total production in the nine months to September stood at 249,146 ounces, about 170,800 ounces short of the full-year target.

"With scope for further increases in plant throughput during the coming quarters, and with average grades set to further increase in Q4, we maintain our full-year production guidance," Centamin Chairman Josef El-Raghy said in a statement.

The mine, which faced issues with lower-grade ore in the second quarter, achieved nameplate capacity of 10 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) during the quarter, Centamin said on Thursday.

While some analysts remained sceptical about Centamin's ability to meet its full-year guidance, others said an attempt to achieve the target would set the miner on a strong path for the future.

"What is worth noting is that, even if the company gets close to the 420,000 ounces target, it will have achieved quarterly production which would put it well on track to beat future guidance of 450,000-500,000 ounces," Westhouse Securities analyst Rob Broke said in a note.

Centamin also said it was in the final stage of talks with the Egyptian government, seeking an approval to increase the amount of ammonium nitrate it uses as explosives for open pit mining.

Egypt-based brokerage firm Naeem NewsStand said the miner would need the approval to achieve its long-term production target from 2015 onwards.

While the third-quarter output was below most analysts' expectations, the market cheered the 15 percent rise in output from the prior quarter, when Centamin reported a 13 percent drop in production.

Centamin's shares were up 4.5 percent at 60.83 pence at 1039 GMT.

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