Highland Gold Mining Limited (LON:HGM) told investors it produced 63,482 ounces of gold, in line with guidance, for the three months ended March 31, 2020.
The Russia-based miner saw an average realised gold price of US$1,593 per ounce during the quarter, and the company repeated its 2020 production guidance for 290,000 to 300,000 ounces of gold and gold equivalent.
Production and sales volumes were unaffected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the company said in an update. The month of March saw the appointment of a new chief operating officer Michael Monaghan.
Among the quarter’s highlights was the first gold pour at the Kekura mine’s pilot processing plant and preparations continued ahead of planned summer construction programmes.
The Mnogovershinnoye mine exceeded its production targets, meanwhile, the group is advancing towards new high-grade ore zones – due in Q3 and Q4.
Maintenance of the Belaya Gora processing plant was brought forward to March, from the original schedule of April/May.
At the Novo mine, gold equivalent production improved by around 5% above forecasts, despite lower grade ore. Volumes increased at the Valunisty mine, though grades were lower during the quarter.
The company noted a US$60mln drawdown on its long-term debt facilities, to lock-in a lower interest rate (3.36%), taking gross debt to US$326mln and net debt to US$254mln.
Managing coronavirus impacts
Highland Gold said no material disruptions have been experienced in its supply chain due to the coronavirus pandemic and, to date, no employees are known to have tested positive for COVID-19.
Mine shifts were extended and, until June 1, health screening procedures are in place at production sites and travel restrictions are in place to protect the company’s remote operations and their nearby communities.
To deal with the ongoing challenges, the company has been securing living quarters for employees either near the mine or in regional capitals, to facilitate upcoming staff rotations including 14-day quarantines. It has also been working to source private-sector coronavirus testing.
Operationally, the company is monitoring ore stockpile levels with a view to mitigating any risks to production – each mine presently has between two and three months of ore.