Strong gold production across all of OceanaGold Corporation's (TSX & ASX: OGC) four mines has delivered a 14% quarter on quarter increase in production, delivering 268,596 ounces of gold and 7,808 tonnes of copper metal for its first half trading period.
In June, the company increased its calendar 2018 production guidance range to between 500,000 to 540,000 oz and up to 16,000t of copper.
Of its four mines, Macraes in East Otago made the largest contribution for the first half, with production at 94,786 oz; booking a 13% quarter on quarter increase.
OceanaGold chief executive Mick Wilkes said there had been another strong quarter of operating performance across all of its four mines, with a 14% quarter-on-quarter increase to consolidated production.
Wilkes said the second quarter gold production of 142,950 oz was 14% higher compared to previous quarter of 2018, which reflected stronger production across all its mine assets. Copper production at the Didipio mine in the northern Philippines for the period was 7,808t.
He said at Macraes the 13% quarter-on-quarter increase was related to processing higher grades and better recoveries, delivering the total 94,786 oz of gold.
Wilkes said the first half production of 268,597 oz was “broadly in-line” with the same period a year ago, noting that at Haile in South Carolina there was a “steady state” of operations in the six months, which offset lower production at Didipio in the Philippines.
He said at Haile the aerator-on-quarter production increase was mainly attributable to improved plant availability and utilisation rates. Gold recovery remained steady in the low 80% range, and Wilkes said progress was continuing with installation of an upgraded fine grind circuit to further improve recoveries, with commissioning expected in early 2019.
At Didipio, the 30% quarter-on-quarter production increase came from the continued ramp-up of underground operations and implementation of a revised mine plan.
At Waihi, which produced 39,320 oz of gold for the half year, the 12% quarter-on-quarter production increase came from better equipment utilisation and higher mill throughput.
OceanaGold has begun resource consenting at Waihi, to open up a new underground operation beneath the Martha pit; which is currently closed. The new mine could potentially add a decade of mine life to the Waihi operations.
The company's complete financial and operational results are scheduled for release later this month.
*Simon Hartley is senior business reporter and assistant chief reporter for the Otago Daily Times.