Perseus Mining Limited: Managing Director & CEO Address at Annual General Meeting

Perseus Mining Limited: Managing Director & CEO Address at Annual General Meeting

PERTH, Western Australia, Nov. 26, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Perseus Mining Limited (ASX/TSX: PRU) wishes to release the address to be given at today’s Annual General Meeting by its Managing Director and CEO, Mr Jeff Quartermaine attached to this announcement.

This announcement was approved for release by the Managing Director & CEO, Jeff Quartermaine.

For further information, please contact:

Managing Director:Jeff Quartermaine at telephone +61 8 6144 1700 or email [email protected];
  
General Manager BD & IR:Andrew Grove at telephone +61 8 6144 1700 or email [email protected]
  
Media Relations:Nathan Ryan at telephone +61 4 20 582 887 or email [email protected] (Melbourne)

Competent Person Statement: All production targets referred to in this report are underpinned by estimated Ore Reserves which have been prepared by competent persons in accordance with the requirements of the JORC Code. 

The information in this report that relates to Esuajah North Mineral Resources estimate was first reported by the Company in compliance with the JORC Code 2012 and NI43-101 in a market announcement entitled “Perseus Mining Updates Mineral Resources & Ore Reserves” released on 29 August 2018.  The information in this report that relates to the Mineral Resource and Ore Reserve estimates for the Bokitsi South and AFG Gap deposits at the EGM was first reported by the Company in compliance with the JORC Code 2012 and NI43-101 in a market announcement released on 26 August 2020. The information in this report that relates to the Mineral Resource and Ore Reserve estimates for the other EGM deposits (Fetish and Esuajah South Underground) was first reported by the Company in compliance with the JORC Code 2012 and NI43-101 in a market announcement released on 20 February 2020 and was updated for depletion until 30 June 2020 in a market announcement released on 26 August 2020. The Company confirms that it is not aware of any new information or data that materially affect the information in those market releases and that all material assumptions underpinning those estimates and the production targets, or the forecast financial information derived therefrom, continue to apply and have not materially changed. The Company further confirms that material assumptions underpinning the estimates of Ore Reserves described in “Technical Report — Central Ashanti Gold Project, Ghana” dated 30 May 2011 continue to apply.

The information in this report that relates to Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves for Sissingué was first reported by the Company in compliance with the JORC Code 2012 and NI43-101 in a market announcement released on 29 October 2018 and includes an update for depletion as at 30 June 2020.The information in this report that relates to Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves for the Fimbiasso East and West deposits, previously Bélé East and West respectively, was first reported by the Company in compliance with the JORC Code 2012 and NI43-101 in a market announcement released on 26 August 2020. The Company confirms that material assumptions underpinning the estimates of Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves described in those market announcements. The Company confirms that it is not aware of any new information or data that materially affect the information in these market releases and that all material assumptions underpinning those estimates and the production targets, or the forecast financial information derived therefrom, continue to apply and have not materially changed. The Company further confirms that material assumptions underpinning the estimates of Ore Reserves described in “Technical Report — Sissingué Gold Project, Côte d’Ivoire” dated 29 May 2015 continue to apply.

The information in this report in relation to Yaouré Mineral Resource and Ore Reserve estimates was first reported by the Company in compliance with the JORC Code 2012 and NI43-101 in a market announcement on 28 August 2019. The Company confirms that all material assumptions underpinning those estimates and the production targets, or the forecast financial information derived therefrom, in that market release continue to apply and have not materially changed. The Company further confirms that material assumptions underpinning the estimates of Ore Reserves described in “Technical Report — Yaouré Gold Project, Côte d’Ivoire” dated 18 December 2017 continue to apply.

Caution Regarding Forward Looking Information: This report contains forward-looking information which is based on the assumptions, estimates, analysis and opinions of management made in light of its experience and its perception of trends, current conditions and expected developments, as well as other factors that management of the Company believes to be relevant and reasonable in the circumstances at the date that such statements are made, but which may prove to be incorrect. Assumptions have been made by the Company regarding, among other things: the price of gold, continuing commercial production at the Edikan Gold Mine and the Sissingué Gold Mine without any major disruption as a result of COVID or otherwise, development of a mine at Yaouré, the receipt of required governmental approvals, the accuracy of capital and operating cost estimates, the ability of the Company to operate in a safe, efficient and effective manner and the ability of the Company to obtain financing as and when required and on reasonable terms. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list is not exhaustive of all factors and assumptions which may have been used by the Company. Although management believes that the assumptions made by the Company and the expectations represented by such information are reasonable, there can be no assurance that the forward-looking information will prove to be accurate. Forward-looking information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any anticipated future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Such factors include, among others, the actual market price of gold, the actual results of current exploration, the actual results of future exploration, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be evaluated, as well as those factors disclosed in the Company's publicly filed documents. The Company believes that the assumptions and expectations reflected in the forward-looking information are reasonable.  Assumptions have been made regarding, among other things, the Company’s ability to carry on its exploration and development activities, the timely receipt of required approvals, the price of gold, the ability of the Company to operate in a safe, efficient and effective manner and the ability of the Company to obtain financing as and when required and on reasonable terms.   Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information.  Perseus does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.

Managing Director’s AGM Address

Ladies and Gentlemen,

During the last twelve months, each of us who have been employed in the mining industry, have been presented with a set of challenges that many of us have never encountered before. For us at Perseus, dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic meant that for a significant part of this year, we have been operating in uncharted waters, notwithstanding the fact that the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa in 2016 had previously alerted us to the possibility of a contagion posing a material risk to our business.

I am pleased to be able to report that so far, Perseus has emerged from the COVID crisis relatively unscathed and if anything, we have emerged stronger, as we continue on our path to achieve our target of producing at least 500,000 ounces of gold per year at a cash margin of not less than US$400 per ounce, and in doing so, position ourselves to consistently deliver on our corporate mission of generating benefits for all of our stakeholders, in fair and equitable proportions.

While the global uncertainty related to COVID-19 has made it impossible at times to guarantee ongoing strong performance, we have done our absolute best to deliver it, and in this regard, I think we have been reasonably successful.

Development of our third gold mine, Yaouré, which was a very big undertaking this year given the COVID challenge, is now well advanced and we expect to pour our first gold at the mine within weeks, inside our stretch target of pouring first gold by the end of this calendar year.  When fully operational, we expect Yaouré to produce on average about 215,000oz of gold per year in its first five years of operation at an all-in site cost of $750/oz or so, and have a mine life of eight years or more, based on the current Ore Reserve inventory.

It is said that “seeing is believing”, so let me now show you a short video of what our outstanding construction team, our contractors and their subcontractors had achieved at Yaouré by the end of October.

Bringing our third mine online has been an important focus this year, and as you have just seen, it has kept us very busy. Meanwhile, ticking over in the background, our two producing mines, Edikan and Sissingué, have delivered improved operational performance during H2 FY20 after a slow H1. We produced nearly 260,000oz of gold at the two mines during FY2020, with our all-in site costs of US$972 per ounce, being similar to those of the previous year. Costs were impacted by our COVID-19 measures in the second half of the year. In the June quarter, these added about US$20/ounce to our production costs, however, notwithstanding this, we were still able to generate very strong cashflows from our operations that amounted to approximately A$213 million through the year.

We have recently outlined plans to extend the future of both of our operating mines, albeit in different ways.

The current life of our Sissingué operation is relatively short and we have sought to extend this by acquiring Exore Resources Limited, an exploration company that owned 2,000 square kilometres of very prospective land adjacent to Sissingué. Exploration success on this ground would offer us the opportunity to either truck material to Sissingué, or alternatively develop the deposit into a standalone mining operation using infrastructure from Sissingué.  Since completing the acquisition in September, we have been conducting Resource definition drilling at three deposits located on the tenements. Results to date are encouraging and we expect to be able to announce an updated Mineral Resource in the new year and release the results of a feasibility study on developing the Resources, by the end of Q1 in 2021.

At Edikan, we identified potential for underground mining at the Esuajah South deposit, which has a Measured and Indicated Resource of more than 500,000 ounces of gold. We are gradually progressing this work, having received government approvals in the June quarter to move ahead. The approvals allow development of the decline and establishment of ore drives on the first three sub-levels of the orebody, which will allow us to better assess the deposit before proceeding to full scale development. We have been out to tender for underground mining services and are working our way through these offers. If the concept can be proven to be economically viable, this will be an exciting step for us as a company as it would Perseus’s first underground development, although many of our people are individually, very experienced underground miners. Understandably, given our lack of corporate experience as underground miners, we’re moving forward cautiously with the exercise, but we look forward to bringing news of this potential opportunity in the new year. 

As our operations grow, Perseus continues to work very hard on improving our capacity to effectively discharge our Environmental, Social and Governance responsibilities with priority being given to supporting our host communities and governments in both Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, and in the process, ensure that our “social licence” to operate in these countries, remains in good standing. During the past year, Perseus has paid royalties and taxes totaling $83M to the Ghanaian and Ivorian governments, while also offering support to local communities through implementation of education, health and environmental programs. We have a strong local workforce at each of our operating sites, and we aim to provide training and employment opportunities at a range of levels for members of our host communities. To date, we have recorded about 99 per cent of local employment in Ghana and 90 percent local employment in Cote d’Ivoire, including approximately 11% women at both sites.  We are also carefully examining ways of minimizing our carbon footprint, and in this regard, the fact that all of the power that we will use at Yaouré (other than emergency standby power) will be generated from a renewable energy source, namely hydro-electric power, represents a significant step forward in this area.

Looking ahead to 2021, commissioning and ramp up of production at Yaouré is a major objective for the coming months, and we are also looking forward to publishing the feasibility study for the development of a series of deposits located on the recently acquired Exore ground, resulting in an extension of the life of the very successful Sissingue operation. We also expect to further optimise production at both Edikan and Sissingué with continuous improvement initiatives aimed at increasing gold production and reducing our AISC. We have several exciting exploration programmes planned to roll out across our properties, most notably at Yaouré, as we look to deliver material organic growth at each of our three operating sites.

In recent years, Perseus has shown itself to be a company that does not rest on its laurels; we continue to set new goals and we continue to deliver on our promises. Our share price is starting to reflect the results of these endeavours, but in our view still has some way to go before it truly reflects the value of your company.

Before closing, I would like to pay a special tribute to the men and women of Perseus, both in West Africa and in Australia. This has been a very tough year in a number of ways for many people around the globe. For our team, there was no exception, but the way our employees have responded to the challenges has been of the highest calibre. To illustrate the point, due to travel restrictions, many of our employees including both local employees and expatriates, had no alternative but to work extended rosters and endure the hardship of regular isolation in quarantine. As well as being physically and mentally draining, this placed pressure on their families, many of whom were also living in challenging circumstances.

The team responded positively, demonstrating understanding and in most instances good humour at the discomfort. Their contribution to Perseus has been enormous and I know I speak on behalf of the board and hopefully our shareholders, in offering our sincere thanks for our employees’ outstanding service in a time of adversity.

Despite the challenges of the past year and the uncertainty ahead of us, it is an exciting time in our Company’s growth, and I look forward to achieving the goals that we have set for ourselves in the year to come.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Jeff Quartermaine

Managing Director and CEO