Asa Q1 nickel output falls by a third, gold sales rise

Asa Q1 nickel output falls by a third, gold sales rise

HARARE, August 11 (The Source) – Nickel production at the Asa Resources-owned Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC) fell by nearly a third to 1,555 tonnes in the first quarter to June 30, but sales at its gold mine rose by two percent, the company said on Thursday.

The AIM-listed Asa, formerly Mwana Africa’s financial year ends on March 31.

Production of nickel in concentrate dropped by 31 percent to 1,555 tonnes compared to 2,246 tonnes in the same period of the prior year, primarily due to a decrease in average head grade and recoveries. Head grade was 23 percent lower at 1.76 percent against 2.30 percent previously while recoveries were four percent off the comparable period at 87 percent.

The average price of nickel over the quarter was $5,728 per tonne, reflecting a four percent increase in global prices for the period.

But cash costs rose 42 percent to $6,489 per tonne.

At Freda Rebecca, gold sales were two percent higher at 14,463 ounces compared to the prior quarter due to higher head grade.

Head grade was nine percent higher at 1.96 g per tonne while the average gold price increased by five percent to $1,275 per ounce compared to the prior year period.

Cash costs fell seven percent to $1,153 per ounce.

Freda is targeting all in sustaining costs of $950-$1000/oz and output of 17,000oz per quarter for the last half of the year.

The mine sourced two mills to increase output which are expected to be commissioned in August or September this year.

“The commissioning of two additional mills is a significant development, adding 0.6m/t pa equalising mine and mill capacities exactly. Freda Rebecca’s original plant design had the capability to produce 90,000/oz to 100,000/oz per annum and it’s the Group’s intention to increase output to take full advantage of a rising gold price,” said executive chairman, Yat Hoi Ning.