Golden Star Resources’ Wassa gold mine in Ghana averaged a mining rate of about 3,963 tonnes per day (tpd) in the second quarter of 2021 (Q2 2021), representing a 10% decrease on the 4,418tpd achieved in Q2 2020 and 12% lower than the mining rate of 4,499tpd achieved in Q1 2021.
These results were driven predominantly by an enforced change in the mine plan due to stoping constraints caused by lower than planned development rates. Underground mined grade averaged 3.1g/t, in line with the underground reserve grade of 3.1g/t and 4% higher than the grade achieved in Q1 2021.
Processing of low-grade stockpiles continued during Q2 2021, given the continued strength of the gold price. This initiative, which utilises latent capacity in the process plant without compromising gold recovery rates, contributes additional cash flow, albeit at a slightly higher AISC than achieved by the underground mine. This initiative contributed 5koz of production during Q2 2021.
Investment in infrastructure continued throughout Q2 2021 to provide additional mining flexibility with the objective of increasing mining rates. Capital expenditure at Wassa totalled USD12-million during Q2 2021, including capitalised drilling of USD1.9-million.
Operational improvements and recruitment of additional jumbo operators has seen an increase in development rates over the second half of the quarter, with June seeing rates in line with plan and representing a 15% increase compared to 2020.
During the quarter, decline development reached the 495-level, access and level development has commenced bringing on new development and production areas into the mine plan for H2 2021. These stopes were originally planned for 2022 and will be brought forward to replace some of the secondary stope material delayed due to the delay in the completion of the paste plant commissioning process.