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 Centamin, the leading global company in gold mining and exploration in the Sukari and Eastern Desert Mines, plans to increase its annual production from 450,000 ounces in 2023 to between 470,000 and 500,000 ounces in 2024.

The company also achieved revenues of $892m in 2023, with $265m coming from the last quarter alone. The company had $153m in cash and liquid assets by the end of 2023, and a total liquidity of $303m, including a $150m revolving credit facility linked to sustainability.

Martin Horgan, CEO of Centamin, said, “Centamin delivered a strong performance in 2023. We improved the occupational safety rates of our mining operations, met our productivity targets for the third consecutive year, and beat our drilling and production cost estimates for 2023. We are looking forward to increasing our gold production in 2024 while maintaining optimal operational cost management.”

Horgan added that Centamin is working on completing a capital reinvestment program and connecting the Sukari mine to Egypt’s national electricity grid.

Horgan continued: “Centamin achieved remarkable results as we sold 456,625 ounces of gold at an average price of $1,948 per ounce in 2023. Our cash costs for 2023 ranged from $840 to $990 per ounce. Our cash costs in the fourth quarter were $984 per ounce, with an annual average of $895 per ounce in 2023. Our total cost per ounce was $1,220 for 2023, which is $30 lower than our planned cost. Our total annual capital expenditure was $202m, which is below our target of $272m.”

Horgan explained that the capital spending in the last quarter was affected by lower diesel prices, lower operational costs than expected, and delayed payment for the energy network project until the first quarter of 2024. He also said that the company finalized the new Sukari Mine Life Plan, which offers higher gold production, lower operating costs, and reduced operational risks and CO2 emissions.

Horgan added: “The safety of our workers is our top priority. We achieved 9.5 million working hours in the Sukari gold mine without accidents. We had no accidents that resulted in work stoppage in the fourth quarter in any of our assets. Moreover, our recordable injury rate for the fourth quarter was 0.97 per million hours worked, which is a 67% improvement compared to the fourth quarter of 2022.”

Regarding the group’s proven and probable reserves and resources, they increased to 3.5 million ounces by the end of 2023, surpassing our previous goal of 3.0 million ounces. This growth was driven by adding 1.6 million ounces to the Sukari mine reserves and announcing 1.9 million ounces in the Drobo mine in Ivory Coast.

Regarding the manufacturing process, 3.2 million tonnenes of ore were processed in the fourth quarter (FY: 12.0 million tonnenes), an increase of 5% compared to last year, with an ore concentration rate of 1.35 g/t Au (FY: 1.27 g/t Au), which is an increase of 10% compared to last year as a result of the increase in the ore extracted from underground during the quarter and the ore with a higher concentration. The plant’s gold recovery rate for the fourth quarter was 89.1% (FY: 88.7%), above target numbers, thanks to higher grades, the use of new chemicals, and improved ore crushing control. During the quarter, the ending inventory balance reached 21.0 million tonnes with a grade of 0.47 g/t Au.

Horgan expressed his gratitude to all Centamin employees for their continuous hard work and commitment to achieving these exceptional results.

The local gold market experienced a sharp rise in prices and a state of confusion on Wednesday, following the decision of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to let the exchange rate be determined by supply and demand. This coincided with a 6% increase in interest rates to curb high inflation.

Saeed Embabi, CEO of iSagha, an online platform for selling gold and jewelry, said that gold prices increased by about EGP 220 during today’s trading, compared to the end of yesterday’s trading. The price of one gram of 21-carat gold reached EGP 3,200. He noted that the market was facing uncertainty in pricing after the devaluation of the pound against the US dollar, which exceeded EGP 50 in banks.

He added that one gram of 24-karat gold recorded EGP 3,657, one gram of 18-karat gold recorded EGP 2,743, and one gram of 14-karat gold recorded about EGP 2,134. One gold pound recorded EGP 25,600, while ounces increased by about $7, reaching a level of $2,134.

Embabi explained that CBE’s decisions today would stabilize the exchange rate, eliminate the black market, and reduce inflation. He pointed out that unifying the exchange rate would also help attract foreign investments, as well as ensure the return of remittances from Egyptians working abroad, which had declined significantly over the past year.

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of CBE decided in its extraordinary meeting to raise the overnight deposit and lending rates and the central bank’s main operation rate by 600 basis points to reach 27.25%, 28.25%, and 27.75%, respectively. The credit and discount rates were also raised by 600 basis points to reach 27.75%, as the monetary tightening policy continued to be implemented, according to CBE’s statement today.

CBE affirmed its commitment to continue its efforts to move towards a flexible framework for inflation targeting, by maintaining inflation as the nominal anchor of monetary policy while allowing the exchange rate to be determined by market forces. Unifying the exchange rate is a vital step, as it eliminates the excess demand for foreign currency resulting from the gap between the official and parallel market exchange rates.

According to the statement, MPC believes that the decision to raise key interest rates by 600 basis points would help contain monetary conditions in line with the plan to lower inflation rates.

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