Asanko Gold Increases H2 2016 Production Guidance
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Sep 15, 2016) -
- Steady state operations continue with 34,301 ounces produced in July and August 2016
- H2 2016 production guidance increased to 100,000 - 105,000 ounces up from 90,000 - 100,000 ounces previously
- Mills operating at 10% over design capacity at 3.3Mtpa and gold recovery exceeding plan
- Crushing improvements being undertaken through Q1 2017 to increase mill throughput to circa 3.6Mtpa for 2017
- New life-of-mine plan being optimized with higher throughput rates and gold production for 2017 and 2018 ahead of Phase 2 operations
Asanko Gold Inc. ("Asanko" or the "Company") (AKG)(NYSE MKT:AKG) is pleased to provide an update on the Asanko Gold Mine (AGM), located in Ghana, West Africa. The mine declared commercial production on April 1, 2016 and reached steady state operations during Q2 2016. July and August production has been reflective of steady state operations with 34,301 ounces produced. As such, the Company has increased its production guidance to 100,000 - 105,000 ounces for H2 2016, previously 90,000 -100,000 ounces.
Asanko's improved guidance is the result of minor operational improvements made during Q2 2016 to optimize the processing facility which has resulted in the mills performing in excess of their original design capacity on a continuous basis. This, together with higher than planned recovery and ore grades approaching reserve grades being fed from the Nkran pit, has delivered a very encouraging performance so far for Q3 2016. In July the processing plant milled 274,325 tonnes at 2.1 g/t gold producing 17,042 ounces and for August 279,737 tonnes were milled at 2.0 g/t for 17,259 ounces.
Commenting on the strong production performance, Peter Breese, President and CEO, said, "The Asanko Gold Mine is performing extremely well, having now reached steady-state operations with current run rates through the processing facility above feasibility levels. The solid performance we have seen in July and August has given us the confidence to increase our guidance for H2 2016. Our focus now continues to be on bringing our operating costs in-line with expectations by the end of 2016."
The current mill capacity of 275,000 to 280,000tpm (equivalent to 3.3 million tonnes per annum ("Mtpa")) is approximately 10% above design throughput rates. The bottleneck to increasing production further is primarily the ore crushing circuit. Modifications to the crushing circuit to improve throughput rates are currently being undertaken and will be completed in Q1 2017. In addition, in an effort to improve throughput rates even further, a new mobile crusher has been purchased and is expected to be operational by late September 2016. Once the crushing improvements have been implemented, the Company expects to achieve monthly production throughputs of 300,000tpm (3.6Mtpa) without further capital expenditure.
The Company is currently updating the AGM life-of-mine plan in conjunction with the Phase 2 Definitive Feasibility Study ("DFS"). The new life-of-mine plan will be based on processing 20% more ore than planned at 3.6Mt in 2017. As such the Company expects the DFS to estimate in excess of 220,000 ounces of production in 2017, which is well above previous plans for that year. Ore feed will come from the Nkran pit, the two near-surface oxide deposits discovered earlier this year, Adubiaso Extension and Nkran Extension, and the Dynamite Hill satellite pit. The DFS is now expected to be published during Q4 2016, at which time formal production guidance for 2017 will be given.
Permits for Adubiaso Extension and Dynamite Hill have recently been obtained and the permit for Nkran Extension is expected in Q1 2017. Bush clearing and Grade Control drilling of the Adubiaso Extension pit has commenced in preparation for mining operations in Q4 2016.
The Company will be presenting at the Denver Gold Forum next week in Colorado Springs, USA. A copy of the presentation will be available on the Company's website:www.asanko.com.
About Asanko Gold Inc.
Asanko's vision is to become a mid-tier gold mining company that maximizes value for all its stakeholders. The Company's flagship project is the multi-million ounce Asanko Gold Mine located in Ghana, West Africa. The mine is being developed in phases. Phase 1 commenced gold production in January 2016 and declared commercial production on April 1, 2016. Ramp-up to steady state production of 190,000 ounces per annum was achieved in Q2 2016.
Asanko is managed by highly skilled and successful technical, operational and financial professionals. The Company is strongly committed to the highest standards for environmental management, social responsibility, and health and safety for its employees and neighbouring communities.
Forward-Looking and other Cautionary Information
This release includes certain statements that may be deemed "forward-looking statements". All statements in this release, other than statements of historical facts, that address estimated resource quantities, grades and contained metals, possible future mining, exploration and development activities, are forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes the forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements should not be in any way construed as guarantees of future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include market prices for metals, the conclusions of detailed feasibility and technical analyses, the timely renewal of key permits, lower than expected grades and quantities of resources, mining rates and recovery rates and the lack of availability of necessary capital, which may not be available to the Company on terms acceptable to it or at all. The Company is subject to the specific risks inherent in the mining business as well as general economic and business conditions. For more information on the Company, Investors should review the Company's annual Form 20-F filing with the United States Securities Commission and its home jurisdiction filings that are available at www.sedar.com.
Neither Toronto Stock Exchange nor the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.