Despite difficult times for the mining industry globally Monument Mining continues to maintain low cash cost gold production at its Selinsing project in Malaysia.

Gold production during the September quarter, net of gold doré in transit and refinery adjustment, was 5063 ounces, 48% less than the 9745 ounces produced in the corresponding quarter of 2014.

The decline was due to the continued processing of super low grade material blended with low grade ore reclaimed from the old tailing ponds. Monument says this trend is expected to continue until the commencement of mining oxide ore at Felda Land.

Plant throughput from the Selinsing gold processing plant was 232,118 tonnes for the three months ending September 30 quarter, which was 8% lower than the 253,514 tonnes processed in the corresponding period of 2014. This was due to power supply interruptions and the clay consistency of the ore with periods of heavy rain that caused a slowdown in the crushing circuit.

Average ore head grade decreased by 42% to 0.96 grams, gold recovery rate decreased by 51% for the quarter to 5532 ounces and process recovery rate decreased 9% to 77.0% compared to the corresponding period last year.

Gold sales of 10,000 ounces generated $8.33 million for the quarter compared to 6300 ounces generating $8.18 million in the 2014 period. During the quarter mining operations at Selinsing generated a profit margin of $2.33 million compared to $2.10 million in the 2014 quarter.

Total production cost of $6 million in the first quarter was in line with $6.08 million from the corresponding period last year. The cash cost per ounce of gold sold for the quarter decreased by 33% to $468 per ounce, compared to $699 per ounce. This was mainly attributed to reclassification of super low material to ore from waste, which in turn reduced cost per tonne mined, partially offset by increase in processing cost due to lower average mill feed grade and recovery rate.

The production team at Selinsing has continued improvements to boost productivity and the bottom line during the quarter through reduction of mill down time and process efficiency.

Following completion of the Intec laboratory test work in the 2015 financial year which successfully demonstrated the technical ability of Intec to recover gold from the sulphide material on a bench scale, the pilot trial testing program was initiated in the September quarter with completion of pilot plant construction and commencement of commissioning.

Subsequently, commissioning of the pilot plant continued and was completed in preparation for the operations test work. The aim of test work through the pilot plant is to operate the proposed Intec Process unit on a continuous basis, demonstrating the liberation of gold for subsequent extraction and recovery through cyanidation and generate key data for the design of subsequent project stages.

The pilot plant test work is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2015 and result in a continuous flow process, to further demonstrate scale-up capability. The economic analysis of the Intec Process will be included into an updated NI43-101 report targeted for completion by March 31, 2016.