Q1 2017 Highlights:
•Record quarterly gold production of 58,187 ounces and gold sales of 57,812 ounces, in line with 2017 production guidance of 230,000 - 240,000 ounces
•US$69.3m in gold revenue at an average realized price of US$1,199 per ounce
•908,463 tonnes processed during the quarter, a new quarterly record, with a feed grade of 2.05 g/t
•Industry-leading safety record maintained, despite one LTI reported during the quarter, and a rolling 12 month LTIFR of 0.21.
•Strong balance sheet with unaudited cash and immediately convertible working capital balances of approximately US$65 million (March 31, 2017)
Asanko Gold Inc. ("Asanko" or the "Company") (TSX:AKG)(NYSE MKT:AKG) is pleased to announce production results for the first quarter of 2017 ("Q1") from the Asanko Gold Mine, located in Ghana, West Africa.
Commenting on the quarter's performance, Peter Breese, President and CEO, said, "I am pleased to report a second consecutive quarter of record production, with over 58,000 ounces produced in Q1 2017, which positions us well to meet our guidance for the year.
Looking ahead, 2017 will be a year of two halves. With the first half focused solely on mining fresh ore from Nkran, production volumes will be lower and costs will be higher compared to H2. In H2, as we bring our second pit, Dynamite Hill, into production, the softer oxide ore is cheaper to both mine and process and we expect that the incremental ore from Dynamite Hill, coupled with the Project 5 Million plant expansion, will deliver increased volumes and lower operating costs enabling us to meet our 2017 production and cost guidance.
Project 5 Million is progressing well and ahead of schedule, with commissioning now expected in Q4 2017. All the long lead items have been ordered and we will be starting the upgrades during this quarter."
With the strategic stockpile of 1.5 million tonnes, which is equivalent to five months of production, now in place as well as the dual ramp system, ore mining rates dropped during the quarter to more optimal levels.
Ore mining rates for the quarter averaged 339,096 tonnes per month at an average mining grade of 1.8 g/t. Waste mining took place in the north and western sides in preparation for the next sequence of ore mining in the centre of the pit. The next pushback sequence will commence during Q2 2017.
The grade for the quarter was lower as a result of mining through a planned lower grade section of the orebody. The increase in the strip ratio this quarter was driven by the implementation of the new CSA Global resource model mid-way through the quarter. Going forward, the life of mine strip ratio for Nkran is expected to be around 6:1, which will be confirmed by the new life of mine plan that will be included in the Expansion Definitive Feasibility Study due to be published in Q2 2017.
Key Mining Statistics Units Q4 2016 Q1 2017
Total Tonnes Mined 000 t 7,231 6,637
Waste Tonnes Mined 000 t 5,931 5,620
Ore Tonnes Mined 000 t 1,300 1,017
Strip Ratio W:O 4.6:1 5.5:1
Average Gold Grade Mined g/t 2.0 1.8
The processing plant continued to operate at an annualized rate of 3.6 million tonnes per annum (20% above design) during the quarter. The upgrades to the crushing circuit were commissioned during the quarter, which is now capable of handling the increased throughput requirements to the milling circuit, in anticipation of commissioning Project 5 Million later this year. Metallurgical recoveries continued to exceed design levels at 95%. Gold production for the quarter averaged 19,300 ounces per month.
Key Production Statistics Units Q4 2016 Q1 2017
Ore Treated 000 t 901 908
Gold Feed Grade g/t 2.10 2.05
Gold Recovery % 94 95
Gold Produced oz 57,178 58,187
Sales and Liquidity
Gold production for the quarter was 58,187 ounces with gold sales of 57,812 ounces at an average realized price of US$1,199 per ounce, generating gold sales revenue of US$69.3 million.
At March 31, 2017 the Company's balance sheet had approximately US$48 million in unaudited cash, US$11.5 million in gold receivables and US$5.3 million in dore (with a market value of US$7.7 million). The Company has no significant current long term debt obligations with its first principal repayment on its US$150 million debt facility not due until July 1, 2018. As previously stated, the Company continues to expect to fund Project 5 Million and the development of Esaase, and the associated conveyor, from current balances and future cash flows.
Health and Safety
There was one lost time injury ("LTI") reported during the quarter and the 12-month rolling lost time injury frequency rate ("LTIFR") per million man hours worked is 0.21.
For further information, please visit: www.asanko.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org