Sumatra Copper & Gold achieved record monthly production of 3379 gold equivalent ounces during October at its Tembang Gold-Silver Project in southern Sumatra, Indonesia. The record has been attributed to operational improvements implemented following the appointment of chief operating officer Rob Gregory in July 2016.

The total comprised 2924 ounces of gold and 32,296 ounces of silver. On an annualised basis, the October gold equivalent production rate is approximately 40,000 gold equivalent ounces.

Sumatra says the higher production rate is principally the result of increased productivity and reduced dilution in the Belinau underground mine, which is the main driver of operational profitability.

In July 2016, following problems associated with long hole stoping in the upper levels of the mine, the company announced the adoption of an interim bench cut and fill mining method. This method was expected to produce lower tonnes at a higher grade due to better control of dilution.

Underground production for October demonstrates that the revised mining method has been implemented successfully with a 7.2 g/t gold equivalent mined head grade achieved for the month. Belinau provided 56% of the total recovered ounces for the month.

Underground development productivity was also high during the month, with a total 426 metres of development during October compared to a monthly average over the previous six months of 273 metres.

The decline has now passed Level 7 on its way to Level 8 and remains on schedule to facilitate the resumption of stoping from Level 12 upwards by the end of the first quarter of 2017, at which point production from Belinau will substantially increase.

Mill recoveries improved significantly during October with 92.4% for gold and 78.4% for silver. The increased recoveries were the result of optimised feed blend and batch scheduling allowing longer residence times within the process plant. This result validates the proposed upgrade of the leach adsorption circuit prior to the planned process plant utilisation rate increasing to 100% during the first quarter of 2017.

Sumatra’s managing director David Fowler said, “The progress made by Rob Gregory, our new chief operating officer, and his team at Tembang since July has been outstanding in what has been a challenging period for the company. I would therefore like to thank the operations team for all their efforts and dedication in achieving this significant production milestone.”

The 2016 guidance remains unchanged at 30,000-33,000 ounces gold equivalent, increasing to 45,000–55,000 ounces in 2017.

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