During the fourth quarter of 2021, one lost-time injury was recorded (the only lost-time injury for 2021). There was lower than forecast gold production of 12,833 oz gold in Q4 2021 due to a change in the December mining schedule and reduction in recovery due to technical issues with the carbon regeneration kiln, delivering production of 49,364 oz gold for the year ended December 31, 2021 (CY 2021) from the company’s Beatons Creek conglomerate gold project.
Q4 2021 revenue was C$30 million (A$32.4 million) from the sale of 13,023 oz gold. As of December 31, 2021, cash balance was C$32.4 million. Novo’s Investment portfolio has a fair value of approximately C$146 million. An extensive exploration program and mechanical sorting Phase 2 testing continued, with C$6.1 million incurred in Q4 2021.
“The company continues to implement its optimized mining approach to guide operational efforts,” commented Mike Spreadborough, Executive Co-Chairman of Novo. “Mining for the quarter was on target, but processing and production were impacted by some short-term plant and scheduling issues. Pleasingly, our plant has resumed operating at a target annualized rate of approximately 1.8 million tonnes per annum. While the inevitable increase in COVID-19 cases in Western Australia may create certain operational challenges in the coming months, the team has been preparing for this situation and is committed to achieving the company’s goals.”
Mining rates at Beatons Creek achieved forecast in Q4 2021, with 434 kt of mineralized material mined from Beatons Creek. A total of 1,563 kt of mineralized material were mined from Beatons Creek in CY 2021.
The company’s Golden Eagle Plant processed 395 kt in Q4 2021, with 1,363 kt milled in CY 2021. Q4 2021 head grade was 1.16 g/t Au. Processing rates in October and November were affected by a number of unscheduled short-term mill shuts, including the longer shut in early November which accompanied significant crusher maintenance (refer to the Company’s news releases dated November 1, 2021 , and November 5, 2021 ). However, the Golden Eagle Plant resumed operation, with 155 kt processed in December 2021, which is in line with the Company’s forecast to process at an annualized rate of approximately 1.8 million tonnes per annum.
Novo’s production forecast for the first half of 2022 of 27 koz 33 koz gold remains influenced by close-spaced drilling and mine-to-mill reconciliation efforts, assumes receipt of requisite approvals1, and is significantly dependent on minimal impact to operations from COVID.
Further to the company’s news release dated November 5, 2021, Novoy has substantially completed major works to raise its tailings storage facility and has approximately 24 months of processing capacity remaining.
During Q4 2021, Novo continued to advance its exploration and mechanical sorting projects and committed C$6.1 million to these endeavours.
In addition to its cash reserves, Novo’s strategic portfolio of investments include its 9.5% investment in New Found Gold Corp. [NFG-TSXV] which was worth approximately C$135 million.
Novo operates its flagship Beatons Creek gold project while exploring and developing its prospective land package covering approximately 13,250 square kilometres in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.