Canadian Mining Journal

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GOLD: OceanaGold forecasts similar production, slightly higher costs for 2019



AUSTRALIA – OceanaGold says its mines in the Philippines, New Zealand and the U.S. will produce a total of between 500,000 and 550,000 oz. of gold and 14,000 to 15,000 tonnes of copper this year at all-in sustaining costs (AISC) ranging from US$850 and US$900 per oz. of gold sold.

In 2018 the company produced 533,300 oz. of gold and 15,000 tonnes of copper at AISC of US$767 per ounce.

This year the company plans to increase mining and milling tonnes to more than 200,000 oz. of gold a year at its Haile mine in South Carolina. The mine is an open pit with additional underground resources.

In New Zealand, it plans to advance permitting and continue resource drilling and engineering studies for its Martha underground project at its Waihi gold mine on the North Island. Martha could add another 10 years to Waihi’s life of mine, the company says. OceanaGold bought Waihi in October 2015 from Newmont Mining.

The company has budgeted US$40 million to US$50 million on global exploration this year to increase reserves across all of its operations. About US$8 million to US$10 million of the funds will be spent on drilling Wharekirauponga (WKP), a prospect on the North Island of New Zealand.

At its Macraes mine on New Zealand’s South Island, the company plans to spend between US$7 million and US$10 million on exploration associated with potential mine life extensions along the 32-km Hyde-Macraes shear zone including Golden Point. OceanaGold believes Golden Point could become the basis for a potential standalone underground operation. Macraes is an open pit and underground operation, which has been operating for more than 29 years and is the country’s largest gold producing operation.

In the Philippines, the exploration focus will be primarily on infill and extension drilling at the lower levels of the Didipio underground. Didipio is a high grade, gold-copper mine on the island of Luzon, about 270 km north of Manila.

At Haile in the U.S., the exploration program will concentrate mainly on drill targets within and around the existing deposits.

The company has also set aside US$6 million to US$8 million on exploration joint ventures in the Americas.

At press time in Toronto OceanaGold was trading at $4.41 per share within a 52-week trading range of $2.97 and $5.01.

Brian Quast of BMO Capital Markets has a market perform rating and a price target of $5.00 per share and Cosmos Chiu of CIBC has a 12 to 18 month target price of $5.75.

“We maintain our outperformer rating, with OceanaGold’s ability to generate positive free cash flow, along with a strong balance sheet,” Chiu writes in a research note. “We expect OGC to generate >$80 million in free cash flow in 2019.”

Chiu also said he sees “numerous opportunities” for the company “to continue to increase its net asset value, with the completion of the regrinding circuit at Haile and permitting advancements at Martha (Waihi).”

Macquarie Research trimmed its price target to $5.00 from $5.25 per share and downgraded its rating to neutral, stating that 2019 production and cost guidance was weaker than expected.

This story first appeared on www.NorthernMiner.com.