Perseus Mining (PRU) is a gold explorer and producer, focused on under-explored gold belts in West Africa. The group’s main assets are located in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, consisting of the Edikan Gold Mine (EGM), the Tengrela Gold project (TGP) and the Grumesa Gold Project (GGP).
The Edikan Gold Mine in Ghana has 5.6Moz of Measured and Indicated gold resources, including reserves of 3.4 million ounces of gold, and 1.7Moz Inferred gold resources. Production began at the mine in the 3rd Quarter of 2011.
The Sissingue Gold Project which is part of the Tengrela Gold Project. It is the group’s most advance non-producing project.
As mentioned, EGM has been producing gold since the third quarter of 2011. Since the initial ramp of production PRU has reported four quarters worth of production numbers.
The first two quarters were within guidance, however the last two set of figures released have missed. The December 2012 quarterly production result was the more disappointing of the two misses.
Gold production over the quarter was 51,090 ounces, 13% below the lowered guidance provided in November and also below the previous quarter’s production of 52,610 ounces.
Cash costs for the December quarter was $588 per ounce, 2.3% higher than the revised guidance and much higher than the $475 per ounce in the September quarter. The group blamed the production short-fall principally on lower crusher output since its initial downgrade on 23 November 2012.
The Sissingue Gold Project
The Sissingue Gold Project located in the Ivory Coast is the project PRU is planning on getting to production. The group is targeting a mid-2014 commissioning date, but given its 12-month build time from the start of construction we see this timeframe as unrealistic. PRU still needs to:
|>||Discuss and agree fiscal terms with the Ivorian government|
|>||Undertake a full review of operating budgets|
|>||Complete detailed plant design|
|>||Review the project’s capital budgets|
Finally PRU will need to approve development of the project, which it has put on hold pending clarity of the some of the aforementioned tasks.
PRU has missed two quarterly production results in a row. The production issue of late is relating to a mechanical issue to do with the drive shaft for the crusher, which has results in poor mill utilisation.
The drive shaft is scheduled to be replaced in February, but given the downtime that will be required for the replacing and testing of the new shaft we can’t see the group meeting its previous guidance range of between 127,000 to 143,000 ounces.
PRU offers long-term value at these levels, but until the company can stick to its guidance we have too many short-term concerns.
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