Saracen on steady road to production at Thunderbox

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX: SAR) informed the market of the progress being made to mining, plant refurbishment and infrastructure at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Thunderbox gold project in Western Australia.

Saracen said the project is on track for commissioning by the March quarter next year with first gold production in the June Quarter.

Mining activities to date at the Thunderbox open pit has advanced to a depth of 40 metres, with some 4.46 million billion cubic metres of dirt moved, well over the budgeted figure of 4.03 million BCM.

Saracen has completed a second grade control drilling program, which resulted in a Resource model update that confirmed a consistent and predictable ore body.

The first ore was mined at Thunderbox in October ahead of schedule, while plant refurbishment is also continuing ahead of schedule.

Saracen declared the Thunderbox project could potentially add around 20,000 ounces of gold to the company’s FY16 production guidance of 150,000 to 160,000 ounces, which is currently supplied solely from its Carosue Dam operation.

Being debt-free and with net cash and bullion of $44.9 million sitting in the bank, Saracen boasted it is set to double its gold production to around 300,000 ounces of gold per annum at an all-in-sustained-cost of less than $1075 per ounce within two years, funded from internal cash flows.

“First gold from Thunderbox will see Saracen produce gold from multiple operations for the first time, doubling our production base,” Saracen Mineral Holdings managing director Raleigh Finlayson said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Importantly this growth is both low cost / high margin, and internally funded.”