K92 Mining Announces Record Quarterly Production of 39,101 oz AuEq, Multiple Operational Records and Exceeds Annual Production Guidance

By: PNG Business News January 15, 2024

K92 Mining Inc. is pleased to announce record quarterly production results for the fourth quarter (“ Q4 ”) of 2023 at its Kainantu Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea, of 39,101 oz AuEq or 33,309 oz gold, 2,728,623 lbs copper and 56,502 oz silver. Sales during the quarter were 31,931 oz gold, 2,995,585 lbs copper and 61,712 oz silver. Annual production achieved 117,607 oz AuEq or 100,533 oz gold, 7,690,477 lbs copper and 160,628 oz silver, exceeding the updated production guidance range of 111,000 to 116,000 oz AuEq. Annual sales were 96,013 oz gold, 7,446,581 lbs copper and 157,613 oz silver.

During the fourth quarter, the process plant delivered yet another quarterly ore tonnes processed record of 151,908 tonnes or 1,651 tpd, an increase of 25% from Q4 2022 and 25% from Q3 2023, and 21% greater than the Stage 2A Expansion plant design of 1,370 tpd or 500,000 tpa. On an annual basis, a record 503,484 tonnes of ore was processed, increasing 12% from 2022. Importantly, during the quarter, multiple throughput records were achieved (see Figure 2), with the latest daily throughput record achieved on November 19 th , of 2,320 tonnes processed ( 2 ) (69% higher than the Stage 2 Expansion design) and a 7-day throughput record achieved in November averaging 2,136 tpd ( 2 ) (56% higher than the Stage 2A Expansion plant design). The plant performance records demonstrate a meaningful immediate opportunity in terms of the operation having significantly greater plant capacity than expected. Importantly, as the Stage 2A and Stage 3 Process Plant Expansion design throughputs utilize the same conservative design parameters, these records demonstrate that the design of the Stage 3 Expansion process plant currently under construction has the potential for significantly greater capacity than its 1.2 million tpa design.

Concurrent with the record throughput rates, during the fourth quarter, the process plant delivered strong metallurgical recoveries of 91.7% for gold and 93.6% for copper. Head grades during the quarter averaged 8.7 g/t AuEq or 7.4 g/t gold, 0.87 % copper and 13.9 g/t silver.

In the fourth quarter, the mine delivered yet another material movement record, with 155,062 tonnes of ore mined (increase of 39% from Q4 2022) and 347,529 tonnes of total mined material (ore plus waste), increasing 21% from Q4 2022. During the quarter, 10 levels were mined, with mining on Kora conducted on the 910, 1110, 1150, 1170, 1285, 1305 and 1325 levels, and Judd on the 840, 1325, and 1345 levels. Long hole open stoping performed to design.

Overall mine development achieved a record totaling 2,649 metres, an increase of 19% from Q4 2022 and 19% from Q3 2023. The large increase in development advance during the quarter was driven predominantly through continuous improvement initiatives and importantly, ahead of the significant gains that we expect as new equipment arrives and major underground infrastructure projects are progressively completed through 2024. The twin incline also recorded significant advancement in Q4, with incline #2 (6m x 6.5m) advanced to 2,863 metres and #3 (5m x 5.5m) advanced to 2,838 metres as of December 31, 2023. The twin incline is over 98% complete of its 2.9 km design.

John Lewins, K92 Chief Executive Officer and Director, stated, 

“The fourth quarter represented another significant step forward for the Kainantu Gold Mine, delivering record quarterly production of 39,101 oz AuEq and delivering annual production of 117,607 oz AuEq that exceeded the top end of our production guidance range of 111,000 to 116,000 oz AuEq. Notably, the record quarterly production was underpinned by strong operational fundamentals, with record ore tonnes processed, record ore tonnes mined, record total mined material (ore plus waste) and record development advance achieved – many of these were also significantly higher than previous records (See Fig 1-2).

The performance of the process plant since the final commissioning of the Stage 2A Expansion in May 2023 continues to be a major positive and has significantly exceeded our expectations. In Q4, yet another quarterly throughput record was achieved, averaging 1,651 tpd, 21% greater than the Stage 2A Process Plant Expansion design throughput of 1,370 tpd. In addition to the quarterly throughput record, a new daily record of 2,320 tonnes processed was achieved on November 19 th and a 7-day throughput record averaging 2,136 tpd was achieved in November, 69% and 56% greater than the Stage 2A design, respectively (2 ) . It is important to highlight that the strong Stage 2A plant performance has significant potential positive implications for the Stage 3 plant under construction. The Stage 2A and Stage 3 Process Plant Expansion designs utilized the same conservative throughput parameters, indicating the potential for the ultimate throughput rate to be materially higher than the 1.2 million tonnes per annum design for the Stage 3 Expansion.

Mine performance was also very strong, delivering record ore tonnes mined of 155,062 tonnes, record total mined material (ore and waste) of 347,529 tonnes and record development advance of 2,649 m, increasing 39%, 21% and 19% from Q4 2022, respectively. We are particularly pleased with our increase in development advance, increasing by 16% or 371 metres of advance from the prior quarterly record set in Q1 2023. Importantly, a notable component of the increase in development advance has been driven by continuous improvement initiatives, ahead of the significant gains that we expect as our underground mine infrastructure projects are completed and new equipment arrives progressively through 2024.

We are very pleased with how 2023 concluded and look to take yet another major step forward in 2024.”

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