Saracen reaches 300,000oz milestone

SARACEN Mineral Holdings has posted its best quarter yet, exceeding expectations and reaching an annualised run-rate of 300,000 ounces per annum.
Saracen reaches 300,000oz milestone Saracen reaches 300,000oz milestone Saracen reaches 300,000oz milestone Saracen reaches 300,000oz milestone Saracen reaches 300,000oz milestone

Saracen MD Raleigh Finlayson at Thunderbox. Picture: Tony McDonough/Raw Image

Kristie Batten

Group production was a record 79,985 ounces of gold, up 23%, driven by a record 34,881oz produced at Thunderbox and a jump in Carosue Dam output to 45,104oz.

The strong result was driven by an increase in average grade from 1.8 grams per tonne in the March quarter to 2.5gpt.

All-in sustaining costs dropped by 25% quarter-on-quarter to A$1127 an ounce.

The result beat RBC Capital Markets’ forecast of 74,600oz at AISC of $1236/oz.

“This result shows Saracen as delivering upon operational commitments as the company continues through its growth phase,” RBC analyst Paul Hissey said.

“The company is building a number of production centres whilst continuing to add to reserves and mine life through a thorough exploration program.

“Coupled with a period of relative inactivity in the ETF space (and Saracen's recent down-weighting) we retain our constructive view with this result confirmation the company is headed in the right direction.” 

Revenue from the sale of 78,534oz of gold was $127.3 million, boosting Saracen’s cash position to $45.2 million from $30.6 million after spending $24.6 million on growth capital and exploration, $4.3 million to repay finance leases, and $2.7 million to complete the acquisition of Kailis from St Barbara.

“I’m pleased to announce that we’ve reached the inflection point where cash burning operations have become cash-generative assets,” Saracen managing director Raleigh Finlayson said on a conference call.

Guidance for the 2018 financial year is around 300,000oz at AISC of $1150/oz.

The company has continued its focus on organic growth and exploration, and released some outstanding drilling results late last week.

“It’s continued to demonstrate the success of our investment in record drilling,” Finlayson said.

“At Karari, there were 38 intervals above 50 gram metres outside the reserve.”

Those results will feed into an updated resource and reserve statement to be released early next month.

Saracen expects to spend around $25-30 million on exploration this financial year to continue the momentum.

Saracen was the strongest performer on the ASX 200 so far today, jumping by 5.2% to $1.215, the highest level since February.