Tanzania: Barrick Plant Bulyanhulu Increases Production

Dar es Salaam — Africa Barrick Gold has recorded a tremendous increase production at its Bulyanhulu Gold Mine. However at Buzwagi, one of its entities has a low gold production.

According to fourth quarter report ending 31 December 2013, Bulyanhulu produced 12% higher than the previous quarter, and the Buzwagi Gold Mine produced 20% lower than the previous year.

The report said Bulyanhulu produced 53,186 ounces of gold which is 12% higher than the previous period. It added that Buzwagi produced 51,830 ounces of gold which is up 17% on third quarter 2013, but 20% lower than the previous year.

It reveals that the increase in production was primarily due to a 10% improvement in grade compared to the fourth quarter of the year 2012, as availability of high grade stops increased due to improvements in paste filling.

The report further added, that the 56,735 ounces of gold sold for the quarter were 7% higher than production due to the sale of concentrate on hand from the third quarter of 2013.

For the year 2013, the gold production of 198,286 ounces at Bulyanhulu was 16% lower than the previous year mainly due to lower tons mined as a result of reduced equipment and staff availability noted in the first half of the year.

This was further impacted by a 3% decrease in grade due to paste fill delays in H1 2013 impacting on the availability of high grade stopes, it said, adding that this has since been addressed and paste filling has recovered to expected levels.

Gold ounces sold for the year of 195,304 ounces were 17% below that of the prior year primarily due to the lower production base. Copper production in the fourth quarter of 1.3 million pounds was 12% higher than that of the same period in 2012 driven by improved copper grades in fourth quarter of 2013.

For the full year, copper production of 4.9 million pounds was 20% lower than the previous year's production of 6.1 million in line with reduced throughput and grades.

At Bulyanhulu the report said, "we are in the process of completing the review of the life of mine using a $1,300 gold price to calculate our reserves as well as assessing the most appropriate long-term mining methods."

Although the impact of this is likely to see a reduction in the reserves, Bulyanhulu remains a long life, high grade asset, as demonstrated by the recently released exploration results, and, "we are confident it will deliver an increasing production profile at lower costs than at present."

Meanwhile Gold production at Buzwagi for the third quarter was 20% lower than the previous year period. This was mainly a result of a 10% decrease in grade against fourth quarter of 2012 when mining focused on higher grade areas.

The process plant continues to operate at its nameplate capacity of 12,000 tons per day, although due to predominantly planned plant downtime for maintenance purposes, throughput for the quarter of 0.9 million tons was 11% lower than in fourth quarter of 2012.

Gold sold during the quarter amounted to 50,382 ounces, broadly in line with production. Gold production for the full year of 181,984 ounces was 10% higher than the prior year driven by increased throughput as a result of improved plant reliability as it operated at nameplate capacity during 2013.

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