Gold producer DRDGOLD said on Friday production was down five percent in the quarter ended December. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - Gold producer DRDGOLD said on Friday production was down five percent in the quarter ended December compared with the previous three months, mainly due to an eight percent drop in tonnage throughput.

DRDGOLD is a world leader in the recovery of gold from the retreatment of surface tailings, and its operations are consolidated into Ergo Mining Proprietary Limited.

On Friday, it said Ergo's lower throughput was mainly as a result of major power interruptions experienced over 11 days during the second quarter, caused by a fire at a sub-station belonging to state electricity utility Eskom, a lightning strike on the Brakpan tailings complex transformer yard and scheduled power cuts by the Johannesburg metropolitan municipality.

DRDGOLD said the decrease in overall throughput resulted in an eight percent increase in cash operating unit costs per ton.

The gold producer, which is in the process of finalising its results for the six months ended December 31, said it expected a loss per share of between 5.8 cents and 8.6 cents per share compared to earnings of 14.4 cents for the same period last year.

It also forecast a headline loss per share of between 5.8 cents 8.6 cents per share compared to earnings of 14.3 cents previously.

"The expected decrease in earnings per share and headline earnings per share ... are primarily due to the costs associated with the commissioning and start of Far West Gold Recoveries, as well as a three percent decrease in gold produced," it said.

The company is due to publish its financial results on February 13.

- African News Agency (ANA)