Centamin targets up to 9% increase in Sukari’s 2023 gold production

Sukari gold mine, operated by Egypt's Centamin

CENTAMIN forecast gold production for its 2023 financial year of between 450,000 to 480,000 ounces which, at the higher end of guidance, would represent a 9% advance on 2021, itself 6% higher than in 2020.

The UK-listed company operates the Sukari mine in Egypt, an asset that has underperformed in the past, but which Centamin CEO Martin Horgan intends to boost to 500,000 oz/year in output from 2024.

Sukari’s all-in sustaining costs are forecast to be between $1,250 and $1,400/oz for the year despite the effects of inflation, largely owing to fuel price increases. Centamin reported AISC of $1,399/oz – a hefty 13% lift over 2021 – for its 2022 financial year.

For the year ended December 31, Centamin reported basic share earnings of 6.29 cents which compares to 8.81 cents a share in the 2021 financial year. The board has proposed a final dividend of 2.5c/share, equal to a distribution to shareholders of $29m. This takes the total distribution to shareholders for the full year to $58m.

In an effort to increase Sukari’s production, Centamin has invested heavily. It spent $224m in the period under review and intends pumping in another $225m this year. Some of the capital reflects inflationary pressures on the contracted waste-stripping programme specifically from higher fuel prices, the company said.

A further $30m has been allocated for exploration of which $23m is for pre-development work on the firm’s Doporo project in Côte d’Ivoire. An updated prefeasibility study on Doporo is due in the first half of this year.

In November, Centamin delayed the publication of the study following an upgrade to its mineral resource and potential cost savings.

Horgan said in notes to the firm’s published numbers that it a sustainability-linked debt facility raised last year would add to the firm’s “financial flexibility to an already robust balance sheet and enable us to deliver our identified growth opportunities”.