Perseus Mining Ltd (ASX:PRU) (TSE:PRU) (OTCMKTS:PMNXF) (FRA:P4Q) is on track to meet its target of producing 500,000 ounces of gold per annum, following a strong March quarter in which its second Cote d’Ivoire mine began commercial production.

The company reported a 31% increase in gold sales on the previous quarter, a 29% increase in gold production and a nearly 4% decrease in all-in site costs (AISC).

It produced 88,485 ounces of gold for the quarter and sold 87,215 ounces, and despite the ramp-up, its AISC dropped to US$999 an ounce, a 3.5% decrease on the December quarter.

Bold gold target on track

Perseus managing director and CEO Jeff Quartermaine told Proactive this morning his company was extremely upbeat after another successful quarter.

“It is becoming something of a repetitious event, we had a strong quarter yet again,” he said.

“Our target of producing 500,000 ounces of gold per year is going exceptionally well, and we expect to see further productivity increases in the June quarter now we have brought our third mine, Yaouré, on stream.

“The task requires us to produce 125,000 ounces a quarter and that is well and truly locked in,  and it is all about performance going forward.”

Three-mine strategy

Perseus has three strong assets in West Africa – Edikan in Ghana and Sissingué and Yaouré in Cote d’Ivoire.

Earlier in April, Wide intercepts of shallow gold mineralisation up to 93 metres at 2.74 g/t gold from 0 metres and 24 metres at 1.18 g/t from 98 metres were returned from Govisou, 3 kilometres from the Yaouré mine.

Drilling at Bagoé permit, 70 kilometres from the Sissingué mine, confirmed gold mineralisation at Antoinette, Véronique and Juliette prospects with results up to 18 metres at 8.42 g/t from 78 metres.

Yaouré is the company’s third operating gold mine, with commercial production declared at the end of March, while the Bagoé exploration licence has potential for the economic exploitation of gold deposits by open pit mining and either processing in-situ or transporting ore to Sissingué.

Quarterly update

Perseus had US$136 million of cash and bullion on hand and a US$180 million debt, giving it a net cash position of US$6 million at quarter-end, US$18 million more than at the end of last quarter.

Unfortunately, the average realised gold price, which is out of the company’s control, decreased 3.5% to US$1,628 per ounce during the quarter, resulting in quarterly notional cashflows from these operations of US$41.7 million, 7% less than the December quarter.

However, the fluctuating gold price is not dimming Perseus’ optimism, with its gold production and AISC market guidance of 175,000 to 190,000 ounces at US$950 to US$1,150 per ounce for the June 2021 half year remaining unchanged.

“We are on track to achieve our goal of producing more than 500,000 ounces of gold per year at a cash operating margin of not less than US$400 per ounce,” Quartermaine said.

He also pointed to four key focus areas for the June quarter – production momentum, its upcoming sustainability report, the exploration of further opportunities and cash management.

“Our number one priority is keeping our operations performing strongly,” he said.

“We’ll be coming out with a sustainability report very shortly, in fact in the next couple of weeks, that will give investors a very clear understanding of where we sit on this and they’ll be very happy with what we’re doing in this space.

“Having achieved 500,000 ounces we want to maintain that into the future and that involves active organic growth and looking at further opportunities to be added on to our business through M&A.

“And the final thing is what we do with the significant amounts of cash we expect to generate, we are making a lot of cash, and what we need to do is get the balance right between deploying that between future growth, balance sheet management and of course return some of that capital to our shareholders.”

– Daniel Paproth