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PERTH, Jan 21 AAP

January 21 2013, 8:44PM

Australian-based miner Perseus says gold production fell three per cent to 51,090 ounces in the December 2012 quarter, from 52,610 ounces in the September quarter.

The Africa-focused miner recently downgraded its production forecast for the December quarter because of lower output and a longer than expected shutdown period.

Perseus, which produces gold at its Edikan gold mine in Ghana, is aiming for full production of 400,000 ounces a year.

Earlier this month Perseus estimated gold production at Edikan would be 49,000 ounces for the December 2012 quarter, down from a revised production guidance of 58,500 ounces announced in November.

Perseus said equipment failures during at Edikan, particular in the crushing circuit, were the main cause of the shortfall in production.

On Monday Mark Calderwood stepped down as Perseus' managing director after nine years at the helm.

Chief financial officer Jeff Quartermaine will take over as the company's new managing director and chief executive officer from February 1.

Mr Calderwood will take up a part-time technical role with the company.

Mr Quartermaine had worked on moving Perseus' Edikan gold project to production and prepared the Sissingue gold Project in Cote d'Ivoire for a development decision.

Group financial controller Elissa Brown will succeed Mr Quartermaine as chief financial officer.

In 2011/12, Persius posted a maiden full year net profit of $52.5 million amid strong gold prices.

Perseus shares closed 8.5 cents, or 4.1 per cent, lower at $1.95.