Eldorado Gold Corporation says that permitting at the Eastern Dragon Gold Project continues to move forward with good support from the various government agencies involved. The company expects the PPA to be approved during the current quarter, after which the applications for the supplemental permits needed for construction will be submitted.
Based on the timing of these approvals the company will revise and update the schedule for the remaining construction activities.
Meanwhile, production during the first quarter at the company’s three operating Chinese projects was lower than previous quarters.
Gold production of 36,686 ounces at Jinfeng in the quarter was 11% lower year over year as a result of lower tonnes milled and lower production from gold in circuit inventory in 2015, as compared with 2014. A planned shutdown occurred for preventative mill maintenance causing the lower throughput. The material mined during the quarter and not treated was placed on stockpile and will be treated over the rest of the year.
Cash operating costs of $518 per ounce were 17% lower than the same period in 2014 due to lower mining contractor costs. Capital expenditures included capitalized underground development and process plant improvements.
Surface exploration work at Jinfeng included soil sampling over the Anbao exploration licence and geological mapping of near-pit areas.
The 2015 soil sampling program has been completed.
Gold production of 26,626 ounces at Tanjianshan in the first quarter was 6% lower year over year due to lower production from gold in circuit inventory in 2015, as compared to 2014. Cash operating costs of $407 per ounce during the quarter were 4% lower year over year as a result of lower processing costs.
Capital expenditures included capitalized waste stripping on the Jinlonggou pit and construction of the exploration decline at the Qinlongtan deposit. Development of the Qinlongtan North decline is on schedule, and delineation drilling commenced at the end of the quarter.
Gold production of 20,883 ounces at White Mountain during the first quarter was 21% lower year over year due to reduced head grade and lower production from gold in circuit inventory in 2015 as compared with 2014. Cash operating costs per ounce of $600 were 1% lower than 2014 as a result of cost savings initiatives. Capital expenditures included capitalized underground development, exploration drilling and sustaining capital projects within the processing plant.
More than 5500 metres of underground exploration drilling were completed at White Mountain during the quarter. Most drilling consisted of modest step-out holes from existing resources and reserves in the north and south zones. Further exploration drilling will shift to testing deeper targets, defined on the basis of the improved geological model developed through a re-logging/reinterpretation program.
Eldorado reported overall gold production of 189,414 ounces for the March quarter from operations in Turkey, China, Greece, Romania and Brazil at an average cash cost of $521 per ounce. Adjusted net earnings for the first quarter were $19.5 million compared to $37.3 million in the first quarter of 2014.
“The solid first quarter production and continued low all-in sustaining cash costs of $729 per ounce, contributes to the company remaining in a strong position to meet our annual production guidance of 640,000-700,000 ounces of gold at an all-in sustaining cash cost between $960-995 per ounce,” said Eldorado’s CEO Paul Wright.
“We continue to gain further support for our investments in Greece while making progress at all of the operations in the Halkidiki region. With approximately $870 million in total liquidity at quarter-end, our balance sheet remains one of the strongest in the industry, allowing us to continue to internally fund our robust growth pipeline.”