Oceana guidance seen as loose

Copper and gold concentrate from Oceana Gold's Didipio project, in the Philippines. Photo supplied.
Copper and gold concentrate from Oceana Gold's Didipio project, in the Philippines. Photo supplied.

The wide guidance provided yesterday by Oceana Gold disappointed the market, which continued to grapple with the gold and copper miner's cash cost and production.

Craigs Investment Partners broker Peter McIntyre said the miner, which operated the Macraes and Reefton projects in New Zealand, had lost 30% of its market capitalisation as the share price slipped in the past month from $4.38 to $3.30.

''It mirrors what is happening with other Australasian miners. The spot gold price has slipped 5% but gold miners are retracing much faster than the price of spot gold,'' he said.

Guidance for 2013 from Oceana Gold came in at a total company production of 285,000 ounces to 325,000 ounces at a cash cost of $US650 to $US800 ($NZ775 to $NZ954) an ounce.

In New Zealand, production was estimated at 235,000 ounces to 255,000 ounces at $US880 to $US950 an ounce, down from this year's $US1000 an ounce.

Didipio gold production, which had just started in the Philippines, was estimated to be 50,000 ounces to 70,000 ounces next year, and copper production was set at 15 tonnes to 18 tonnes. Mr McIntyre said the 40,000-ounce spread for total production was wide and last year the company had come in at the low end of its guidance.

''I can see the rationale for that. Oceana has a new project they are settling in. They are likely to get better ore quality from Macraes in the next 12 months and will have the opportunity to surprise on the upside rather than the downside. Even so, the guidance could have been a bit tighter,'' he said.

Oceana Gold managing director Mick Wilkes said in the past week, the company had successfully commissioned the flotation cells and filter to produce saleable copper-gold concentrate from Didipio.

The process plant was now running in a steady state and the remainder of the commissioning activities this year would focus on increasing throughput and improving recoveries and concentrate grade.

''We have had a strong finish to the year as expected, with production from New Zealand on track to meet the revised guidance. We expect strong production next year in New Zealand and with Didipio coming on stream as planned. We are in a great position heading into 2013.''


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