GOLDEN Star expected to meet its 2020 gold production guidance notwithstanding interruptions at its Prestea mine in Ghana where up to 60 employees are in quarantine as a result of testing for COVID-19 virus.
The mine has reported two confirmed cases of the virus. The employees had “mild symptoms” and were being closely monitored, the company said.
Of the 60 employees quarantined – a function of the firm’s contact tracing strategy – the majority were involved in mining activities at the mine such as rock breaking, scoop operations and blasting, as well as engineering activities.
Golden Star said it was revising its planned operations in the short term to allow for possible critical skill shortages and to ensure employee safety which would most likely have a negative impact on production from 24 level over the coming weeks until quarantined employees returned to work, the company said.
“At this stage, it is anticipated that the impact on development activities on 17 Level, which are crucial to the longer term viability of the operation, will be minimal,” the firm said.
Since there had been no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 at Golden Star’s flagship Wassa gold mine, also in Ghana, the company was confident it could make gold production guided for this year at between 195,000 to 210,000 oz. The company produced 204,000 oz in its 2019 financial year.
“To the extent the situation remains unchanged, given the current strong operational performance at Wassa, the company continues to be on track to achieve its consolidated annual guidance for 2020,” said Golden Star.
Wassa was forecast to produce between 155,000 to 165,000 oz in 2020 at a cash operating cost of $620-660/oz and an all in sustaining cost (AISC) of between $930 and 990/oz. At Prestea, the target was for production of 40,000 to 45,000 oz at cash operating costs of $1,400 to $1,550/oz and AISC of between $1,650 and 1,850/oz.
Golden Star added that the supply chains at the Wassa and Prestea mines had not been impacted, nor has the export and sale of gold doré.
Golden Star said in March that it had made arrangements to continue refining its gold at South Africa’s Rand Refinery whilst securing alternative arrangements for the freight of doré to the country amid a partial port lockdown.
Rand Refinery was partially affected by a three-week lockdown announced by the South African government in March. The refinery said on May 6 that it had resumed refining operations under relaxed lockdown regulations imposed by the South African government.