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Pan African headed in right direction after challenging year

In terms of safety performances, significant progress was made over the past year with on-mine safety improvement
Gold pour
The company is now a smaller but higher-margin producer

Gold production by Pan African Resources plc (LON:PAF) was ahead of recent guidance in the year to the end of June.

Gold production in the financial year just ended clocked in at 160,421 ounces (oz), which was ahead of the group's most recent production guidance range of 157,000 – 160,000 oz.

READ: Pan African Resources completes Barberton plant as Elikhulu construction continues

Barberton Mines produced 90,628 oz, within its production guidance range of 90,000oz - 91,000oz. During the second half of the financial year, Barberton Mines produced 50,017 oz of gold, a 23% increase on its first-half production.

Evander Mines, where underground mining operations ceased at the end of May, produced 69,793 oz, exceeding its production guidance of 67,000oz – 69,000oz.

Production guidance for the current financial year is about 170,000 oz, excluding any production from Evander’s underground operations. Some 70,000 oz is expected from Elikhulu, which remains on track for first gold in August, with the rest coming from 100,000, which, as one broker noted, implies a continuation of the 50,000 Barberton produced in the second half.

With the previous high-cost ounces from the Evander underground now replaced by production from low-cost surface re-mining operations, production costs are also expected to demonstrate a significant improvement, Pan African said.

Happily, the group's mining operations experienced no fatalities during the year to the end of June 2018.

“The 2018 financial year was extremely challenging for the group, both financially and operationally; however, during the past six months, we have successfully addressed key deliverables that were critical to the future sustainability of Pan African Resources,” declared Cobus Loots, the chief executive officer of Pan African.

“We are now re-positioned as a lower-cost, long-life gold miner, consistent with stakeholder expectations,” he added,

The shares were up 3.4% at 7.58p in mid-morning trading.

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