- Strong quarterly production of 30,794 ounces gold equivalent (“AuEq”) (1) or 27,405 oz gold, 1,526,547 lbs copper and 34,001 oz silver, representing an 18% increase from Q2 2022 and 43% increase from Q1 2023, and quarterly sales of 28,141 oz gold, 1,657,115 lbs copper and 36,253 oz silver. The second half of the year is expected to be the stronger operationally, with 2023 guidance unchanged.
- Operational performance strengthened considerably after early April, long hole open stoping performed to design, resulting in an average mill head grade in Q2 of 9.23 g/t AuEq or 8.20 g/t gold, 0.66% copper and 11.56 g/t silver.
- A major milestone achieved with the completion of the Stage 2A Plant Expansion in May following the commissioning of the final upgrade, the rougher flotation expansion. Post-commissioning, the process plant is performing well, delivering a significant increase to metallurgical recoveries. Recoveries for June were 93.0% for gold and 92.9% for copper. Q2 recoveries averaged 92.4% for gold and 92.8% for copper, representing the highest quarterly recoveries since Q4 2021 for both gold and copper, and significantly higher than the 2022 average of 90.4% for gold and 90.5% for copper.
- Quarterly ore processed was 112,471 tonnes or 1,236 tpd (“tonnes per day”) and ore tonnes mined was 109,155 tonnes or 1,200 tpd. Total ore tonnes processed and total mined material (ore and waste) increased 3% and 17% from Q2 2022, respectively.
Overall mine development of 2,173 m, an increase of 19% from Q2 2022, and significant advancement of the twin incline in Q2, with incline #2 (6m x 6.5m) advanced to 2,447 metres and #3 (5m x 5.5m) advanced to 2,506 metres as of June 30, 2023.
Note (1): Gold equivalent for Q2 2023 is calculated based on: gold $1,976 per ounce; silver $24.13 per ounce; and copper $3.85 per pound.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, July 10, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- K92 Mining Inc . (“ K92 ” or the “ Company ”) (TSX : KNT; OTCQX : KNTNF ) is pleased to announce production results for the second quarter (“ Q2 ”) of 2023 at its Kainantu Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea, of 30,794 oz AuEq or 27,405 oz gold, 1,526,547 lbs copper and 34,001 oz silver, representing an increase of 18% from Q2 2022 and 43% from Q1 2023, respectively. Sales during the quarter were 28,141 oz gold, 1,657,115 lbs copper and 36,253 oz silver.
Underground mine performance strengthened significantly after early April, which was impacted by an area of localized challenging ground conditions. Long hole stoping performed to design, with mining focusing on Kora’s K1 and K2 veins, and Judd’s J1 Vein. During the quarter, 10 levels were mined for a total of 109,155 ore tonnes mined, and the mill head grade averaged 9.23 g/t AuEq or 8.20 g/t gold, 0.66% copper and 11.56 g/t silver. Mining on Kora was conducted on the 1130, 1150, 1170, 1205, 1265, 1285, 1305 and 1325 levels, and Judd on the 1235 and 1325 levels.
In May, a major milestone was achieved; the commissioning of the final component of the Stage 2A Plant Expansion resulting in the doubling of rougher flotation circuit capacity. After commissioning, the process plant recorded a significant increase in metallurgical recoveries for gold and copper. In June, the first full month of the Stage 2A Expansion being fully commissioned, recoveries averaged 93.0% for gold and 92.9% for copper. Recoveries for Q2 averaged 92.4% for gold and 92.8% for copper, the highest since Q4 2021 for both gold and copper, and significantly higher than the 2022 average of 90.4% for gold and 90.5% for copper. Total ore processed during the quarter was 112,471 tonnes. With the Stage 2A Plant Expansion now commissioned, optimization efforts are underway, including to increase throughput that we believe has the potential to be materially greater than its nameplate design.
As previously reported, underground mining operations were briefly suspended on June 28 following an underground vehicular incident (see June 28, 2023 press release - K92 Mining Reports Mine Accident Resulting in Two Fatalities ). There was limited impact to surface activities and surface stockpiles were treated during the suspension. Underground mining operations resumed on July 6 (see July 6, 2023 press release - K92 Mining Resumes Mining Operations at Kainantu Gold Mine ).
Notably, production and cost guidance for 2023 remain unchanged, with the second half of 2023 expected to be our strongest in terms of production, and 2023 production being within the lower half of the guidance range (as previously disclosed). The anticipated stronger production for the second half of 2023 is based on an expected significant increase to our operational flexibility and stope sequencing.
See Figure 1: Quarterly Total Ore Processed, Development Metres Advanced and Total Mined Material Chart
Table 1 – Q2 2023 & 2022 Annual Production Data
|Q2 2022||Q3 2022||Q4 2022||2022||Q1 2023||Q2 2023|
|Feed Grade Au||g/t||7.2||8.7||8.8||8.3||5.2||8.2|
|Feed Grade Cu||%||0.56%||0.72%||0.74%||0.70 %||0.70%||0.66%|
|Recovery (%) Au||%||91.0%||88.9%||91.2%||90.4 %||89.1%||92.4%|
|Recovery (%) Cu||%||90.9%||88.4%||91.8%||90.5 %||91.3%||92.8%|
|Metal in Conc & Dore Prod Au||Oz||22,934||29,256||31,204||107,546||17,593||27,405|
|Metal in Conc Prod Cu||T||558||756||829||2,834||749||692|
|Metal in Conc Prod Ag||Oz||25,224||32,161||40,517||126,043||29,891||34,001|
|Gold Equivalent Production||Oz||26,085||32,995||35,538||122,806||21,488||30,794|
Note - Gold equivalent for Q2 2023 is calculated based on:
gold $1,976 per ounce; silver $24.13 per ounce; and copper $3.85 per pound.
Gold equivalent for Q1 2023 is calculated based on:
gold $1,890 per ounce; silver $22.55 per ounce; and copper $4.05 per pound.
Gold equivalent for 2022 is calculated based on:
gold $1,793 per ounce; silver $22 per ounce; and copper $3.95 per pound.
Gold equivalent for Q4 2022 is calculated based on:
gold $1,728 per ounce; silver $21 per ounce; and copper $3.63 per pound.
Gold equivalent for Q3 2022 is calculated based on:
gold $1,730 per ounce; silver $19 per ounce; and copper $3.51 per pound.
Gold equivalent for Q2 2022 is calculated based on:
gold $1,870 per ounce; silver $23 per ounce; and copper $4.32 per pound.
John Lewins, K92 Chief Executive Officer and Director, stated, “The second quarter of 2023 has demonstrated that we have moved beyond the localized geotechnical challenges encountered in the second half of Q1, and the initial part of Q2, with the operation delivering near-budget production and showing that Kainantu production is well positioned for the balance of 2023. As we have been guiding since the beginning of the year, the second half of 2023 is expected to be our strongest, driven by stope sequence and operational flexibility significantly increasing through the remainder of the year.
We are very pleased with the performance of the process plant, especially after completing the final commissioning of the Stage 2A Plant Expansion in May. Plant recoveries in Q2 were the highest for both gold and copper since Q4 2021 and in June, the first full month after completing commissioning, strong recoveries of 93.0% for gold and 92.9% for copper were recorded. These recoveries are significantly higher than the 2022 average of 90.4% for gold and 90.5% for copper, and the gold recovery from June already achieved the recovery parameter of 93% in the Kainantu Integrated Development Plan economic study (see September 12, 2022 press release - K92 Mining Inc Announces Robust Kainantu Gold Mine Integrated Development Plan).
For the second half of the year, there is a tremendous amount of sense of anticipation in the Company. On the process plant, now that the Stage 2A Plant Expansion is complete, optimization efforts are underway to thoroughly test its recovery and throughput potential. We believe throughput has the potential to be notably above design nameplate. On mining, we continue to benefit from the arrival of more equipment, with a new jumbo scheduled to arrive this month and multiple long-term infrastructure projects that will drive efficiencies and boost operational flexibility such as the twin incline, also progressing well. We are also active in exploration, with our underground program currently drilling Kora Deeps and Judd South in addition to Kora and Judd. Surface exploration is drilling Judd, Judd South and Kora South, in addition to the A1 Porphyry. And lastly, the tender process for our major growth capital packages for the Stage 3 and 4 Expansions are well advanced and we look forward to providing an update near-term.”
K92 Mine Geology Manager and Mine Exploration Manager, Andrew Kohler, PGeo, a qualified person under the meaning of Canadian National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects , has reviewed and is responsible for the technical content of this news release. Data verification by Mr. Kohler includes significant time onsite reviewing drill core, face sampling, underground workings, and discussing work programs and results with geology and mining personnel.
K92 Mining Inc. is engaged in the production of gold, copper and silver at the Kainantu Gold Mine in the Eastern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea, as well as exploration and development of mineral deposits in the immediate vicinity of the mine. The Company declared commercial production from Kainantu in February 2018 and is in a strong financial position. A maiden resource estimate on the Blue Lake porphyry project was completed in August 2022. K92 is operated by a team of mining company professionals with extensive international mine-building and operational experience.
On Behalf of the Company,
John Lewins, Chief Executive Officer and Director
For further information, please contact David Medilek, P.Eng., CFA, President at +1-604-416-4445
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION: This news release includes certain “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation (“forward-looking statements”), including, but not limited to, the impact of global supply chain and financial market disruptions; projections of future financial and operational performance; statements with respect to future events or future performance; production estimates; anticipated operating and production costs and revenue; estimates of capital expenditures; future demand for and prices of commodities and currencies; estimated mine life of our mine; estimated closure and reclamation costs and statements regarding anticipated exploration, development, construction, production, permitting and other activities on the Company’s properties, including: expected gold, silver and copper production and the Stage 3 Expansion and Stage 4 Expansion. Estimates of mineral reserves and mineral resources are also forward-looking statements because they constitute projections, based on certain estimates and assumptions, regarding the amount of minerals that may be encountered in the future and/or the anticipated economics of production. All statements in this Annual Information Form that address events or developments that we expect to occur in the future are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts and are generally, although not always, identified by words such as “expect”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “project”, “target”, “potential”, “schedule”, “forecast”, “budget”, “estimate”, “intend” or “believe” and similar expressions or their negative connotations, or that events or conditions “will”, “would”, “may”, “could”, “should” or “might” occur. All such forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management as of the date such statements are made.
Forward-looking statements are necessarily based on estimates and assumptions that are inherently subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond our ability to control, that may cause our actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Such factors include, without limitation, Public Health Crises, including the COVID-19 Pandemic; changes in the price of gold, silver, copper and other metals in the world markets; fluctuations in the price and availability of infrastructure and energy and other commodities; fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; volatility in price of our common shares; inherent risks associated with the mining industry, including problems related to weather and climate in remote areas in which certain of the Company’s operations are located; failure to achieve production, cost and other estimates; risks and uncertainties associated with exploration and development; uncertainties relating to estimates of mineral resources including uncertainty that mineral resources may never be converted into mineral reserves; the Company’s ability to carry on current and future operations, including development and exploration activities; the timing, extent, duration and economic viability of such operations, including any mineral resources or reserves identified thereby; the accuracy and reliability of estimates, projections, forecasts, studies and assessments; the Company’s ability to meet or achieve estimates, projections and forecasts; the availability and cost of inputs; the availability and costs of achieving the Stage 3 Expansion or the Stage 4 Expansion; the ability of the Company to achieve the inputs the price and market for outputs, including gold, silver and copper; inability of the Company to identify appropriate acquisition targets or complete desirable acquisitions; failures of information systems or information security threats; political, economic and other risks associated with the Company’s foreign operations; geopolitical events and other uncertainties, such as the conflict in Ukraine; compliance with various laws and regulatory requirements to which the Company is subject to, including taxation; the ability to obtain timely financing on reasonable terms when required; the current and future social, economic and political conditions, including relationship with the communities in Papua New Guinea and other jurisdictions it operates; other assumptions and factors generally associated with the mining industry; and the risks, uncertainties and other factors referred to in the Company’s Annual Information Form under the heading “Risk Factors”.
Estimates of mineral resources are also forward-looking statements because they constitute projections, based on certain estimates and assumptions, regarding the amount of minerals that may be encountered in the future and/or the anticipated economics of production. The estimation of mineral resources and mineral reserves is inherently uncertain and involves subjective judgments about many relevant factors. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. The accuracy of any such estimates is a function of the quantity and quality of available data, and of the assumptions made and judgments used in engineering and geological interpretation, Forward-looking statements are not a guarantee of future performance, and actual results and future events could materially differ from those anticipated in such statements. Although we have attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actual results to differ materially from those that are anticipated, estimated, or intended. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law
Figure 1: Quarterly Total Ore Processed, Development Metres Advanced and Total Mined Material Chart