Pan African Resources said on Friday it had exceeded its full year production guidance of 170,000 ounces, resulting in output increasing by 7.5 percent. Photo: File

JOHANNESBURG – African-focused gold producer Pan African Resources said on Friday it had exceeded its full year production guidance of 170,000 ounces, resulting in output increasing by 7.5 percent to 172,442 ounces or 54.1 percent on continuing operations, compared with the previous period.

The company however condemned the criminal activity currently taking place and perpetrated by what it called opportunistic criminals and a limited number of community members outside its operations at subsidiary Barberton Mines.

In an operational update, Chief Executive Cobus Loots said the group had emerged from the year ended June 30 "as a safe, low-cost and long-life gold producer, following the successful execution of our strategy".

He said Pan African Resources had delivered this performance through the cessation of the high cost underground mining at Evander Mines and the successful commissioning of the Elikhulu tailings retreatment plant, while Barberton Mines achieved a significant increase in production.

"We continue to assess the optionality of our portfolio and are looking to build upon this year’s momentum to drive further growth," Loots said.

He said Evander’s 8 Shaft Pillar mining was expected to contribute an additional 20,000 ounces to 30,000 ounces per annum for the next three years and the group was currently reviewing the merits of expediting its Egoli project and assessing funding options.

Progress was also being made with the underground mining project feasibility study at Royal Sheba, Loots added.

In a separate statement, Pan African Resources said it was working with police to counter the disruption to its operations at Barberton and had obtained court interdicts against the individuals perpetuating illegal activities there.

Protesters angry over several issues including employment have torched vehicles at the mine and barricaded the road leading to it.

"Pan African Resources will not tolerate criminality affecting the safety of our people or the sustainability of our operations," Loots said.

"The individuals responsible for this disruption are acting illegally and their actions are threatening the goodwill that has been established between the mine and the surrounding communities, in which Barberton Mines has invested considerable resources."

He said the company would continue to work with all stakeholders - including employees, unions, law enforcement agencies and surrounding communities in countering this threat to its operations.

"But, if our current operations are brought to their knees by unrest and extortion, the whole community suffers, and the repercussions would be detrimental to all stakeholders," Loots warned.

African News Agency (ANA)