Steenkamp salutes “phenomenal” Mponeng as Harmony tests 1.5m oz gold output


HARMONY Gold is to end its 2023 financial year on a high after the South African miner said in an operational update today it had registered much higher average grades from its underground mines.

Gold production would come in at the higher end of its 1.4 to 1.5 million ounce guidance for the 12 months ended June 30. All in sustaining costs (AISC) would be “comfortably below” R900,000 per kilogram, said Peter Steenkamp, CEO of Harmony Gold.

The performance of Mponeng, the west Rand mine bought from AngloGold Ashanti in 2020 for $300m had been “phenomenal” this year, he said. “As a result, underground recovered grades will be higher than the guided 5.6 grams per ton for 2023,” Steenkamp said. Mponeng comprised 39% of R2.2bn in group operating cash flow for the first nine months of the group’s financial year.

Recovered grades from Harmony’s Hidden Valley mine in Papua New Guinea had also improved. In January last year, Harmony said that production from Hidden Valley would fall to between 115,000 and 117,000 oz compared to guidance of 153,000 to 161,000 oz following conveyor breakdowns. The decline resulted in Harmony lowering its 2022 output target from initial guidance of 1.54 million to 1.63 million oz.

More than 90% of Harmony Gold’s production is from South Africa which is providing a vastly improved realised price, some 22% higher year-on-year. This is following a deterioration in the value of the rand against the dollar. The rand gold price is currently at R1.14m per kilogram.