Diversified crocodile breeder, Padenga Holdings Limited’s gold production for the first quarter (Q1) to March 31, 2023 rose 19 percent to 541kg compared to 453kg during the same quarter in the prior year.
The growth was on the back of higher tonnage processed through the mills, higher grades that were mined during the quarter as well as higher recovery rate compared to the same period last year.
During the period under review, Eureka Mine recorded a 10 percent increase in throughput compared to prior year comparable period as a result of continuous process optimisation, whilst an improvement in grade was achieved on the back of geological work conducted in 2022 to improve understanding of resource model.
At Pickstone Peerless Mine, improved grades were realised out of the Peerless pit which was the predominant source of ore for the quarter.
According to the group, production from the Pickstone underground project, which is the main capital expenditure project this year, is expected to commence in late Q3 of this current year.
“Gold production volumes forecast to remain stable in Q2 and increase thereafter on the back of commencement of higher grade ore feed from the Pickstone underground operation,” said chairman Thembi Sibanda in a trading update for the quarter.
The mining operation is expected to continue sustaining the group this financial year and going forward.
During the full year to December 31, 2022, the group’s total revenue for the year increased 68 percent to US$127,89 million compared to US$76,09 million in 2021 with the mining operations contributing bulk of the revenue at 82 percent while the Zimbabwe crocodile’s business contributed 18 percent.
“Improved group revenue performance was predominantly propelled by the first full year contribution from Eureka Gold Mine in Guruve, which was commissioned in October 2021,” said Sibanda.
Annual gold sales volumes for the year to December 31, 2022, becoming one of the top three gold producers in the country. The unit subsequently overturned a loss position into profitability.
According to the group, mining operations – Dallaglio recorded a 101 percent growth in sales volumes to 1 961 kilogrammes of gold compared to 976 kilogrammes of gold achieved in the prior year.
Padenga said the growth was largely driven by the impact of the first full year of operations at Eureka Gold Mine.
Meanwhile, Nile crocodile operations for the first quarter recorded a 45 percent increase in skin harvest volumes compared to the prior year comparable period as strategies to improve skin quality are bearing fruit.
Skin sales for the quarter were at 2 392, which was below prior year period’s 5 070 skins sold.
However, Sibanda indicated that in April the group sold 10 000 skins to its top tier customer and is on course to achieving its sales targets for the year.