Tanzanian gold miner Acacia Mining achieved a resilient operating performance and delivered solid production of 120 981 oz of gold in the first quarter of the year, which sets it in good stead to deliver against its full-year guidance of between 435 000 oz and 475 000 oz, says Acacia interim CEO Peter Geleta.

He noted in a statement issued on Tuesday that all three of the company’s operations had delivered in line with their respective mine plans during the quarter ended March 31.

Production was, however, 55% lower than the 219 620 oz produced in the first quarter of 2017, primarily driven by the move to reduced operations at the Bulyanhulu mine and to stockpile processing at Buzwagi.

The LSE-listed miner has been forced to change production strategies in Tanzania amid a ban on gold and copper concentrate exports.

Bulyanhulu’s output decreased by 87% year-on-year to 8 527 oz in the first quarter of this year. Production came from the retreatment of tailings as a result of the underground mine having been placed on reduced operations in late 2017.

Buzwagi’s output decreased by 41% year-on-year to 35 685 oz as a result of production now being derived from lower-grade ore stockpiles.

At North Mara, gold production decreased by 20% year-on-year to 76 769 oz.

This, Acacia explained, was primarily due to a lower head grade, which was driven by the underground mine grade of 7 g/t being 28% lower than in the prior comparable period as a result of mining taking place in the lower-grade west zone of Gokona Underground.

Acacia sold 116 955 oz of gold in the first quarter.

The cash balance as at March 31 was $107-million, while net cash increased by $40-million to about $50-million at the end of the quarter.