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ASANKO Gold ended an eventful, and sometimes difficult, year on a high note registering record gold production and starting development of its Esaase pit, the project behind Gold Fields’ investment in the company.
In March, South African-headquartered Gold Fields signed a joint venture with Asanko Gold Mines, the Ghanaian operating company, and helped recapitalise Asanko Gold in a deal that totalled $202m. Later, Gold Fields CEO, Nick Holland, said it was the potential of Esaase in particular that interested his company given its existing exposure to Ghana.
Asanko Gold CEO, Peter Breese, said in a production update today that initial development of Esaase had begun with the completion of the haul road, site establishment of the mining contractor and commencement of trial mining operations.
Updated mineral resource estimates are also due in the second quarter of this year ahead of “… an investment decision to progress with full-scale long-term mining operations at Esaase and the construction of the overland conveyer,” said Breese.
Production for the fourth quarter came in at 59,823 ounces taking full year production to 223,152 oz in excess of the upper end of guidance of 200,000 to 220,000 oz. Gold sales for the year totalled 227,772 oz which generated $284.1m at an average price of $1,247/oz.
At the time of the Gold Fields’ investment, the company was struggling with high debt. It now had $25.9m held in the joint venture in unaudited cash and immediately convertible working capital balances as of December. An additional $10.4m of unaudited cash was held at the Asanko corporate level, the company said.
Asanko is due to publish its full-year results on February 14.