Pantoro Ltd (ASX:PNR) Managing Director, Paul Cmrlec, discusses the company’s Halls Creek project, grades, size of resource and timelines.
Pantoro is an Australian gold producer operating in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. We purchased the project back in 2014. We commenced development in February 2015, and commenced gold production in September 2015. We’ve been producing from there ever since.
The proximity to infrastructure is very good, in that we’re approximately 45 kilometres from Halls Creek. So we utilise the infrastructure at Halls Creek, such as our camp accommodation for our employees and a sealed airstrip, which has really reduced the infrastructure cost onsite. As far as the size of the project goes, we commenced production at 30,000 ounces per annum. We’re currently at a phase of building that production to 50,000 ounces per annum, and we’re looking at opportunities to increase the production beyond that.
The only ground performance, in terms of the amount of gold and the grade of gold that we’re finding, has been very good. So typically we’ve produced about double the gold that we expected to see, compared with the pre-mining reserve. Our resource to reserve conversion has been better than 100 per cent. We’ve found that the grade is typically very high and so the process grade, through the plant, has been better than expected as well.
As I said earlier, the next year of operations will see us ramping up to a 50,000 ounce per annum processing target. That includes open pit mining, which we’ve just commenced during the last month, and will operate for the next year. An expansion to the processing plant is also underway.
Our cash position is better than it’s been over the last several years. At the end of the last quarter, we had $12 million in the bank. We’re cash flow generative at this point and don’t expect to be going out to raise anything additional.
The prepaid facility was a great facility for us to put in place, as a developer with no other mining operations. It was really a hedge against the gold price at the time. Commonwealth’s been very good to work with and that is repaid in physical gold ounces, on a monthly basis. So that runs through until April 2018, at which time that facility will be finalised.
Certainly a year from now, we’ll be focusing on the growth in production at Nicholson’s. Through that growth, we’ll continue to consider other assets. And if we see something that we feel fits the bill, and is a good combination with Nicholson’s, we will consider further acquisitions. But at the moment, our focus is firmly on growing production from Nicholson’s.