File image: IOL.

JOHANNESBURG - South African based gold mining group Pan African Resources said on Friday it expected group headline earnings per share for the financial year ended June 30 to be between 32 and 42 percent lower at 11.65 -13.67cents compared with last year.

CEO Cobus Loots said the company's results were reflective of "both the incredibly challenging operational environment and the specific issues that confronted the group over the past year".

"The operational update and the commissioning of the Elikhulu plant demonstrates that we are well on track to deliver into our 2019 targets and look forward to the year ahead," he added.

The company, which will release its full results on September 19, said its Barberton Mines operation was forecast to produce approximately 26,000 ounces for the first quarter of the financial year ending 2019, on track to deliver its annual production guidance of approximately 100,000 ounces.

"The conclusion of a three-year wage agreement with the National Union of Mineworkers and the United Association of South Africa, which was announced on 7 September 2018, is expected to assist with operational stability and productivity at Barberton Mines," it said.

The Evander tailing retreatment plant and surface-source operations were expected to produce approximately 4,000 ounces in the first quarter, with output remaining on track despite being impacted by lower-quality surface sources being treated during the quarter.

The Elikhulu project was progressing according to schedule with all phases of the five-phase technical commissioning processes now successfully completed, it added.

- African News Agency (ANA)