On November 9th, we released our 2022 Q3 results and I’d like to provide an update.
Overall, our operations increased production and lowered costs compared with Q2, and we advanced our pipeline of development and exploration projects; however, we continued to face headwinds and, as a result, we have adjusted our production and capital expenditures guidance for the remainder of 2022.
We now expect to produce approximately 2 million gold equivalent ounces this year, and expect capital expenditures to be approximately $750 million. On costs, we expect to be slightly above our revised production cost of sales guidance of approximately $900 per Au eq. oz. Our all-in sustaining cost is expected to be in line with our revised guidance of approximately $1,240 per Au eq. oz. sold.
The changes to our guidance are mainly due to the temporary delays in La Coipa’s mill ramp-up and commissioning related to the Tasiast 21k project, as well as inflationary pressures across the portfolio. Longer-term, we have updated our forecast to produce approximately 2.1 million attributable Au eq. oz. in 2023 and 2024, respectively, and approximately 2 million attributable Au eq. oz. in 2025.
Operationally, the fourth quarter is expected to be our strongest of the year, and we are on track for higher production, in particular at Tasiast and La Coipa, which is expected to drive free cash flow. In order to achieve our targets, we will require strong contributions from all of our sites.
During the quarter we also launched an enhanced share buyback program. Year-to-date, we’ve returned approximately $300 million in capital through our share buyback and dividend programs, and by year-end we expect to return $450 million.
Q3 4PP Results
Starting with First Priorities, we recently established a Global Safety Learning Forum, which will reinforce our people-centric and progressive health and safety philosophy. The Forum will foster closer links with sites, facilitate information sharing, and standardize effective health and safety practices. We expect this will be a powerful tool to share learnings and be able to expeditiously implement changes to keep our global workforce safe. We are also focused on site-specific programs and, as an example, recently launched a Safety Excellence Program at Tasiast, which incorporates a local cultural context. Our production and cost profiles are critically important to our success, but these factors come second to making sure ourselves and our colleagues go home safely every day.
We have also made contributions to advancing our ESG goals. On climate change and emissions reductions, we have completed an analysis of climate-related scenarios and their potential impacts on our future business, advanced our pipeline of energy-efficiency projects, and entered into strategic partnerships with various technology providers, suppliers and electric utilities. Our strong performance was also externally recognized in major ESG ratings and rankings, notably increasing our S&P Global ESG score to the 96th percentile.
Production was lower than expected and impacted our ability to Deliver Sustainable Cash Flow. We are working with the site General Managers on cash flow opportunities and challenges, and retooling our focus on value to align with our current priorities and the prevailing macro environment.
I am confident that we can deliver a robust fourth quarter with contributions coming from all of our operations. Tasiast is poised to increase production, with higher mill throughput and recoveries, La Coipa is off to a strong start and averaged throughput of 9,500 tonnes per day in October, and Paracatu is expected to deliver an exceptionally strong Q4 as it moved to the higher-grade portion of the orebody, as planned. We also expect lower costs as production increases.
During the quarter, with our focus on Delivering Future Value, we continued to advance our pipeline of development and exploration projects. At the world-class Great Bear project, drilling results continue to fulfill our expectations, including high-grade intercepts at depth, and the Tasiast 24k and Manh Choh projects made strong progress. Lobo-Marte remains a long-term development opportunity with the potential to be a large production, low-cost and long-life mine upon the conclusion of mining at La Coipa.
During the quarter, we completed the Round Mountain optimization program, which contemplated the mine plan sequence for Phase W and divided it into four stages. Given the effects of inflation and our focus on capital discipline, cash flow generation and resiliency, we have decided to prioritize the underground opportunities at Phase X and Gold Hill, and continuing to mine Phase W (W1 and W2). The expansion opportunities at Phase W3 and Phase S have been deferred, and the associated ounces will remain in reserves and could potentially be exploited in the future. The two underground opportunities at Round Mountain – Phase X and Gold Hill – show potential for higher-margin, higher-return operations compared to open pit, along with increased flexibility and optionality.
Our sites continue to take advantage of the Innovation Opportunity Fund to try out new approaches and technologies. We are looking forward to combining innovation with our pursuit of energy efficiency by studying the feasibility of a battery electric grader and fuel truck at Round Mountain. Continuous Improvement (CI) and Innovation is an enduring part of our mindset as we make the most of our available resources to improve productivity and manage costs in an inflationary environment.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you all for your hard work and commitment.
While we have faced a number of challenges over the year, we have also achieved a number of operational and project milestones in a tough environment, and I believe we will finish the year stronger. The incremental changes we’re making at all sites, when combined, will make us a more resilient Company, one that achieves its targets and delivers on its commitments – key priorities for our long-term success.
As we approach the end of 2022, let’s remain focused on delivering strong production and cost metrics, and continue this forward momentum into 2023. Most importantly, please continue to look out for each other and work safely.
J. Paul Rollinson
President & CEO