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West African Resources achieves gold production goals

West African Resources (ASX:WAF) announced that it met its 2023 gold production target for its West African mining operations, concluding the year on a strong note.

The company, holding a 90% stake in the Sanbrado mine in Burkina Faso (with the government owning the remaining 10%), reported a total production of 226,233 ounces for the year, comfortably within its 2023 guidance range of 210,000 to 230,000 ounces.

Production fell just below the 2022 figure of 229,224 ounces, while 2023 gold sales reached 224,970 ounces, slightly down by almost 4% compared to 2022’s 233,930 ounces. During the December quarter, gold sales totaled 66,059 ounces, while production amounted to 58,047 ounces.

Unlike the 2022 update, the company did not disclose the average gold price for 2023 sales. In 2022, sales were achieved at an average price of $1,798 per ounce in US dollars, or $2,586 in Australian dollars, resulting in a total revenue of $605 million AUD.

Gold sales in the third quarter exceeded $1,930 per ounce, and prices surged to well above $2,000 per ounce in December, remaining at those levels. The Australian gold price even surpassed $3,000 per ounce.

This favorable pricing environment gives West African Resources a strong opportunity to push revenues towards the $800 million AUD mark for 2023.

In the December quarter, underground production from M1 South declined by 7%, with 100,000 tonnes mined at 7.0g/t, yielding 22,583 ounces of gold. However, open-pit production experienced a significant increase in Q4, rising by 54%, with 1.356 million tonnes mined at 1.2g/t, resulting in 53,802 ounces of gold. This growth was driven by lower strip ratios at M5 South stage 2 and increased activity at M5 North.

West African Resources also has a second mine in the area called Kiaka, scheduled to commence gold production in 2025. It is expected to have an annual output of 219,000 ounces, which will substantially boost the complex’s overall production to more than 400,000 ounces per year at its peak.