Strong Start To Year From Beta Hunt and Higginsville Mines
TORONTO - Karora Resources Inc. reported consolidated gold production of 24,694 ounces for the first quarter of 2021 from its Beta Hunt and Higginsville mines in Western Australia. Gold sales for the quarter were a very strong 25,547 ounces.
First quarter gold production is in line with consolidated 2021 production guidance of 105,000 to 115,000 ounces. As previously reported (see Karora news release dated January 19, 2021), Karora expects gold grades to increase over the course of 2021 as higher grade production from new mining areas in the Higginsville Central area come online and with the anticipated start-up of mining at the high grade Spargos open pit project by mid-year. As a result, 2021 gold production and grades will be higher in the second half of the year compared to the first half. For the full year 2021, all-in-sustaining-cost (AISC) guidance of between US$985 to US$1,085 per ounce is maintained.
Paul Andre Huet, Chairman & CEO, said, "Karora has delivered another strong quarter of production across its operations as we prepare for the next level of growth to be announced in the coming months. First quarter production is directly on track with our budget and in line with our previous six quarters of consistent production of approximately 25,000 ounces per quarter, despite planned open pit sequencing mining slightly lower grades during the quarter. As previously stated, we expect gold grades to increase over the course of 2021 as we bring on higher grade mining areas at Higginsville Central and Spargos, resulting in our 2021 production growth, when compared to 2020 production, to be weighted to the second half of the year.
During the first quarter we invested heavily in preparing new, higher grade mining areas at Higginsville Central and Spargos, along with increased resource definition, grade control and exploration drilling to set us up for a very successful year. We also made investments during the first quarter to improve productivity with substantial mining fleet replacements and additions at Beta Hunt and Higginsville.
We are also very pleased to have completed and closed the royalty transaction with Maverix Metals, having made our second and final cash payment of US$2.5 million during the first quarter. The reduction of royalties at Beta Hunt has not only improved our mining cost profile, but has truly opened the mine up to the tremendous series of exploration discoveries we have delivered since September. These include the very exciting and higher grade Larkin Zone, the significant extension to Western Flanks North, the 30C high grade Nickel trough as well as the recently announced very high grade Gamma/50C Nickel zone. With these new discoveries, we are executing on our plan to continue to grow Beta Hunt into a very large operation.
I continue to believe we are only just scratching the surface of our growth potential and I am looking forward to strong results for the balance in 2021 as well as announcing Karora's multi-year growth plan later in the second quarter."