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GV Gold announces 2017 operational results

Vysochaishy PJSC (GV Gold), together with its subsidiaries (“GV Gold”, “Vysochaishy” or “the Company”), publishes its operational results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2017.

2017 KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • In 2017, the Company produced 225 koz increased by 37% y-o-y. Such growth came as a result of the commissioning of production at the Drazhnoye and Ugakhan deposits, as well as the commissioning of a second 400-L dredge at the Bolshoy Kuranakh placer deposit.

  • In 2017, the Company launched two strategic projects, as Ugakhan Mine and Taryn Mine began production, resulting in the expansion of the GV Gold processing capacities about 8 mtpa.

  • The Taryn Mill reached design parameters in record-breaking time, having exceeding target volumes by 1.5 times. By the end of the year, Taryn had produced 57 koz of gold.

  • Implementation of the Ugakhan Project is on schedule: in the pre-commissioning period the Ugakhan produced 15 koz of gold. Full-scale operations at the Ugakhan Mine is scheduled for the summer of 2018.

  • As a result of the commissioning of new projects, the Company increased volumes of ore mined by 27% to 4,383 kt in 2017.

  • Volumes of ore processed rose 32% y-o-y and amounted to 5,854 kt.

  • In 2017, the average refined gold selling price increased by 2% to 1,265 USD/oz.

  • Gold sales are estimated at USD 271 million, up 33% y-o-y.[1]

  • As of 31 December 2017, the Company’s net debt position is estimated at USD 176 million compared to USD 99 million as at the end of 2016[2].

2018 GUIDANCE

  • The Company has determined its production plan for 2018 and expects to produce 280-300 koz.

  • Reaching and exceeding design production parameters for the Taryn Mine and the Ugakhan Mine will be the key growth factors.

STATEMENT FROM CEO GERMAN PIKHOYA:

I am delighted to announce that the Company has delivered strong operational results. In 2017, production totaled 225 koz of gold, which exceeds the previous year’s result by 37% and the earlier announced production plan by 5%.

In 2017, a new page was turned in the Company’s history. Thanks to the joint efforts and professionalism of all our employees, we launched two strategic projects, work on which had been in progress over the last few years. In September, within the framework of the Eastern Economic Forum, the commissioning of the first stage of the Taryn Mine took place. Less than two months later, our Irkutsk business unit launched the Ugakhan Mine. These steps will enable us to reach a qualitatively new level by the end of 2018, and to lay a firm foundation for our continued development, including through organic growth.

The past year has also included a number of important changes in our corporate governance. There were some changes to the GV Gold shareholder structure, while the Board of Directors was also refreshed. Staff changes deserve some special attention. In 2017, the top management team was considerably strengthened both at the corporate center level and at the business unit level of the Company. One of our top priorities is to establish a transparent corporate structure and achieve maximum efficiency across all levels of the Company. We transitioned to a new organizational structure with the establishment of the corporate centre and the business units, and introduced a rotation work scheme at our Mines.

I am very grateful to the entire team for their contributions in achieving our strategic objectives and for their commitment throughout the year. Ahead of us, we have another busy and interesting year. The expertise the Company has accrued enables us to set the most ambitious objectives. But the employees of the Company and their safety are still of the greatest value for us”.

CONSOLIDATED OPERATIONAL RESULTS

GV Gold’s total gold production reached 225 koz, which is 37% higher than in 2016.

This significant growth came as a result of commissioning production at the Taryn Mine, which reached the design parameters in record-breaking time, having exceeded targets by 1.5 times. In 2017, production volumes at this mine amounted to 57 koz of gold, including 15 koz of gold contained in concentrate.

GV Gold Key Operational Highlights
2017 2016 Y-o-Y, %
Rock moved, kt 39,910 28,185 42%
Stripping, kt 35,527 24,737 44%
Ore mined, kt 4,383 3,448 27%
Stripping ratio, t/t 8.1 7.2 -13%
Ore processed, t 5,854 4,438 32%
Average grade in ore processed, g/t
1.39 1.32 5%
Recovery, % 86.0 86.7 0,7 ppts.
Refined gold output, koz 209.1 163.9 28%
Gold contained in concentrate, koz 15.4
Total gold output, koz 224.5 163.9 37%

Refined gold output by mine, koz
2017 2016 Y-o-Y, %
Golets Vysochaishy
132.6
148.5
-11%
Marakan
4.7
5.5
-15%
Ugakhan
14.8
Taryn
42.1
Bolshoy Kuranakh (placer operations) 14.9
9.9
51%
Gold production, koz
209.1
163.9
28%
Gold contained in concentrate, koz
15.4
Total gold production, koz.
224.5
163.9
37%

OPERATING RESULTS BY MINE

Irkutsk Business Unit

Golets Vysochaishy

In 2018, GV Gold celebrates the 20-year anniversary since the first license for the Golets Vysochaishy deposit was granted. Over the life of the mine, approximately 1.7 moz of gold has been produced here. The deposit still remains one of the largest mining enterprises in the Irkutsk Region. Gold output in the reporting period amounted to 133 koz, which is 11% lower than in 2016. This decrease in production was due to the planned processing of ore with lower grades, and also as a result of reduced volumes of ore processed (-3%) following the scheduled maintenance works at Mill 3.

Volume of rock moved grew by 14%, reaching the level of 18,386 kt. In 2017, the stripping ratio amounted to 6.9. Volume of ore processed remained at approximately the level of the previous reporting period and amounted to 4,194 kt of ore. Average recoveries went 1.2 ppts lower y-o-y to 79.5%.

In the interest of enhancing operating efficiency at the mine, the Company is developing and implementing a set of measures aimed at work optimization and process control strengthening at Mills 2 and 3. Within the framework of the project, in H2 2017, an audit of the production flow (from the mining operations to the gold production) was carried out. The Company will start implementing the set of measures developed based on the findings of the audit in 2018.

Following the results of geological and in-mine exploration, the Company expects that the Vysochaishy life of the mine’s period will be extended. According to the JORC-compliant estimate as of 1 July 2017, the proven and probable reserves (P&P) of the deposits total 824 koz of gold, while the measured, indicated and inferred resources (M,I&I) — 862 koz of gold.

In 2018, within the contour of the identified resources, advanced in-mine exploration is planned to enable the Company to develop a detailed mining schedule and determine the parameters of the remaining life of the mine.

Operational results of Golets Vysochaishy
2017 2016 Y-o-Y, %
Rock moved, kt 18,386 16,098 14%
Stripping, kt 16,066
13,007
24%
Stripping ratio, t/t 6.9
4.2
64%
Ore mined, kt 2,320
3,091
-25%
Average grade in the mined ore, g/t 1.71
1.62
6%
Ore processed, kt 4,194
4,321
-3%
Average grade in ore processed, g/t 1.22
1.31
-6%
Recovery, % 79.5
80.7
-1,2 ppts.
Refined gold production, koz 131.1
146.5
-11%
Sands washed, k m3 85
84
1%
Average grade, g/m3 0.73 0.80 -9%
Refined gold production, koz 1.5 2.0 -25%
Total gold production, koz 132.6 148.5 -11%

Marakan

In 2017, Marakan gold output totalled 4.8 koz, which is 15% lower than in 2016. The decrease in production is associated with the decrease in the average grade of gold in ore mined and lower volumes of ore processed, down 9% to 107 kt. Average recoveries were 78.1%.

Operational results of Marakan
2017 2016 Y-o-Y, %
Rock moved, kt 1,611
1,583
2%
Stripping, kt 1,508
1,496
1%
Stripping ratio, t/t 14.6
17.2
-15%
Ore mined, kt 103
87
18%
Average grade in ore mined, g/t 1.94
2.19
-11%
Ore processed, kt 107
117
-9%
Average grade in ore processed, g/t 1.76
2.01
-12%
Recovery, % 78.1
72.6
5,5 ppts.
Refined gold production, koz 4.7
5.5
-15%

Ugakhan

In October 2017, a launch of the Ugakhan Mine (Irkutsk business unit) took place. The proximity of the new deposit to the Company’s flagship Mine enabled acceleration of construction and commissioning of the Mill. Implementation of this project was one of the strategic priorities of GV Gold due to considerable expected synergies, including application of expertise of the current team, accrued experience of production of similar sites, and the ability to utilize single logistical chains of supply and equipment servicing.

The Ugakhan deposit has an extensive mineral resource base, which, together with a shallow bedding of the ore body as well as favourable physical and chemical properties of ore, largely offsets the low average grade of gold (1.07 g/t). According to the updated JORC-compliant estimate, the proven and probable reserves (P&P) are estimated at 824 koz of gold, while the measured, indicated and inferred resources (M,I&I) are estimated at 1,376 koz of gold.

During the reporting period, starting from the commissioning of the processing plant, the Mill has produced 14.8 koz of gold. The Company expects that in 2018 Ugakhan Mill will reach the design ore processing capacity of more than 2.6 Mt.

Operational results of Ugakhan
2017
2016
Y-o-Y, %
Ore processed, kt 1,022


Average grade in ore processed, g/t 0.72
Recovery, % 62.2
Refined gold production, koz 14.8

Taryn Business Unit

Taryn

The Taryn deposit has become the new leader among the operating assets of the Company and the largest Mine in the Oymyakon Area of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), at the heart of Russia’s Pole of Cold.

An official ceremony for commissioning the first stage of the Taryn Mine took place in September at the Eastern Economic Forum with the participation of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir V. Putin and the Chairman of GV Gold Board of Directors Sergey V. Dokuchaev. In October, at the MINEX Russia 2017 mining forum, the Taryn Deposit was recognized as the best mining project of 2017 for the successful establishment of a mining enterprise in Russia.

Following the results of the year, Mine exceeded targets by 1.5 times: 57.5 koz of gold were produced, including 15.4 koz of gold contained in concentrate. Over the period of the mine exploitation, volumes of rock moved totalled 6,646 kt, volumes of ore mined came to 663 kt. The stripping ratio reduced by 93% to 9.0 on the back of increased ore mined volumes. Over the reporting period, the Mill treated 530 kt of ore with the average grade of 3.90 g/t.

The Mine was commissioned in the summer of 2017 and reached design output in record-breaking time. In July, the hourly ore processing capacity of the plant reached 140 t/h, surpassing design parameters by 12% (125 t/h). In December, Taryn reached its throughout design recovery, coming in at 94.4% when the target had been 93.5%. The average recovery for the year totalled 86.6%.

Mineral resource base expansion is a strategic objective of the Taryn Deposit, within the framework of which it intends to carry out large-scale exploration operations to determine the mine’s potential. According to the JORC-compliant estimate as at 1 July 2017, the proven and probable reserves (P&P) of the Drazhnoye deposit are estimated at 759 koz of gold.

The Company considers a possibility of construction of the second stage of the Mine and plans to determine different project implementation options by the end of the year.

Operational results of Taryn
2017 2016 Y-o-Y, %
Rock moved, kt 6,646
4,229
57%
Stripping, kt
5,986
4,194
43%
Stripping ratio, t/t 9.0
120.5
-93%
Ore mined, kt 663
35
18,9х
Average grade in ore mined, g/t 3.19
0.99
222%
Ore processed, kt 530
Average grade in ore processed, g/t 3.90
Recovery, % 86.6
Refined gold production, koz 42.1
Gold contained in concentrate, koz 15.4
Total gold production, koz 57.5

Aldan Business Unit

Bolshoy Kuranakh Deposit

Development of the Bolshoy Kuranakh placer deposit in the Aldan Area of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is carried out by SAHA Gold Mining, CJSC, the Aldan business unit of GV Gold. The dredging fleet consists of three dredges: one 250-L dredge and two 400-L dredges. According to the updated JORC-compliant estimate as at 1 July 2017, the proven and probable reserves (P&P) of the deposit total 1.5 Moz of gold.

Over the 2017 season, which lasted from April to December, the asset produced 14.9 koz of gold, a 51% increase year-on-year. Such growth came as a result of commissioning of the second 400-L dredge, which operated throughout the entire season. The volume of sands washed totaled 2,923 k m³, which is 52% higher than in 2016. The average grade remained at approximately the level of the previous year and totalled 0.157 g/m ³.

One of the options for further expansion of gold production at the deposit is the establishment of selective mining sites. This option is at the stage of detailed review and analysis.

Operational Results of the Aldan Business Unit
2017 2016 Y-o-Y, %
Sands washed, k m3 2,923
1,925
52%
Average grade, g/m3 0.157
0.160
-2%
Refined gold production, koz 14.9
9.9
51%

CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL RESULTS

In 2017, the Company’s total gold sales totaled 218 koz of gold, including 11.7 koz of gold in gravity and flotation produced at the Taryn Mill.

The Company’s total revenues from the gold sales are estimated at USD 271 million, which is 33% higher than in 2016. In the reporting period, the average gold selling price increased by 2% to the level of USD 1,265 /oz.

As at 31 December 2017, the net debt of the Company is estimated at USD 176 million. Company’s leverage remains at a stable level, with a limited amount due for payment in 2018.

Consolidated Results of the Financial Activity
2017 2016 Y-o-Y, %
Total gold sales, koz 218
163
34%
Refined gold sold, koz 206
163
26%
Gold contained in concentrate, koz 12


Gold sales, million USD 271
204
33%
Refined gold sold, million USD 261
204
28%
Gold contained in concentrate, million USD 10


Average refined gold selling price, USD/oz. 1,265
1,245
2%
Net debt, million USD 176
99
78%

HEALTH AND SAFETY

In 2017, the lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) amounted to 0.28, while in 2016 the metric was 0.22. This growth in the LTIFR was primarily due to the introduction of additional requirements in regard to the recording of injuries: starting from 2017 special attention is paid to the work with near misses and investigation of micro-injuries.

It is important to note that in the reporting period there were zero fatalities. The Company strives toward a “zero injury rate”, continually undertaking activities to improve the corporate OHS culture. In 2018, the Company plans to take additional measures for transportation safety improvement and carry out “Conscious Safety” trainings.

In 2017, GV Gold (Vysochaishy, PJSC) confirmed the compliance of its EHS management system with the requirements of the ISO 14001:2015 and OHSAS 18001:2007 international standards, which confirms the chosen path on the way to providing safe working conditions.

CORPORATE AND ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

During the reporting period, the Company made a number of structural changes, which also drove growth of production metrics and improved the transparency and efficiency of corporate governance:

  • Changes in the Shareholding Structure and the Composition of the Board of Directors

On November 2, 2017, the shareholding structure of GV Gold (Vysochaishy, PJSC) was changed when the equity stake of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) equal to 5.26% was repurchased by the Company’s subsidiary SAHA Gold Mining, CJSC (the Aldan business unit of GV Gold) ahead of schedule. The final payment amounted to USD 39 million. In total, GV Gold paid USD 62 million to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

On November 30, 2017, the composition of the Board of Directors was changed. Non-executive director Alexander V. Chmel left the Board of Directors and the CEO of GV Gold German R. Pikhoya joined the Board of Directors.

  • Staff Changes

During the reporting period, the Company strengthened its top management team both at the level of the corporate center and within its business units.

On April 10, 2017, German R. Pikhoya assumed an office of the CEO of GV Gold (Vysochaishy, PJSC).

In January 2018, Alexander N. Tuluptsov, who previously served as the CEO of TGMC, JSC and successfully launched the Taryn Mine, was reassigned to the position of the Deputy CEO Operations.

  • Transition to a New Organizational Structure

Within the framework of the approved plan for transition to the new organizational structure, the corporate center and the business units were established.

  • Transition to a Rotation Work Scheme

In 2017, employees of the processing plants within the Irkutsk and Taryn business units were transferred to a rotation work scheme with the aim of improving workplace appeal, enhancing the competitiveness of the Company on the sector’s labor market, as well as attracting and retaining highly-skilled personnel.

CONTACTS

Investor Relations

Vasily Migunov, Deputy CEO for IR and Capital Markets

+ 7 495 287 88 40
vvm@gvgold.ru

Press Office

Tatiana Demyanova, Deputy CEO for Public Relations

+ 7 495 287 88 40
dtv@gvgold.ru

EM

Denis Denisov

+7 495 363 28 49
denisov@em-comms.com

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

This release may contain “forward-looking statements” regarding GV Gold (Vysochaishy, PJSC) and (or) its subsidiaries. The words “will”, “can”, “must”, “should”, “will continue”, “possibility”, “believes”, “expects”, “intends”, “plans”, “estimates” and other similar phrases are largely indicators of forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements contain elements of risk and uncertainty, as a result of which actual results can differ dramatically from the figures listed in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements contain statements regarding future capital expenditures, strategies for business operations and management, as well as development and expansion of GV Gold (Vysochaishy, PJSC) and (or) its subsidiaries. Many of those risks and uncertainties pertain to factors that cannot be controlled or quantified by GV Gold (Vysochaishy, PJSC) and (or) its subsidiaries, so the content of the statements should not be treated as definitive because it is provided strictly as at the date of the statement. GV Gold (Vysochaishy, PJSC) and (or) any of its subsidiaries does not make any commitment and does not plan to provide updates to the forward-looking statements, except where required by applicable law.


[1] Unaudited figures from consolidated management reports.

[2] The item is is based on unaudited data from consolidated management reports. In respect to the Company, “Net debt” means the aggregate of the following amounts as at the end of each reporting period:

a) outstanding principal amount of the debt;

b) outstanding principal amount of bonds, promissory notes, debt instruments and other securities of similar nature;

c) principal amount of financial leases;

d) fixed or minimum amount of the premium payable at redemption of the securities listed in the subparagraph b) above.