Vast Resources plc / Ticker: VAST / Index: AIM / Sector: Mining

8 May 2018
Vast Resources plc
(“Vast” or the “Company”)

Quarterly Production Summary & Operations Update

Vast Resources plc, the AIM listed mining company with operations in Romania and Zimbabwe, presents its operational update and production summary for the three months ended 31 March 2018 ('Q1 2018').

To view a presentation, which presents the Q1 2018 results together with previous quarters, please visit the Company's website: www.vastresourcesplc.com

Production Overview:

Q1 2018 was another record quarter for the Pickstone-Peerless Gold Mine (“Pickstone-Peerless”) in Zimbabwe. Outperformance over any previous quarter in terms of ore grade milled, gold produced and sold was achieved. At the Manaila Polymetallic Mine (“Manaila”) in Romania, the planned plant shutdown continued in anticipation of the off-take finance, which was finalised during the quarter as further explained below. The shutdown had an adverse impact on production figures for Q1 2018 but is anticipated to deliver substantially increased performance for the remainder of 2018.

Pickstone-Peerless Production Summary
(commissioned on 20August 2015, Vast ownership 25.01%):

Gold produced and sold at Pickstone-Peerless rose in the quarter to their highest recorded levels. An exceptionally high level of pre-stripping was also undertaken in in preparation for the expected increase in ore tonnages in the coming months. The high level of stripping and heavy rainfall during February resulted in reduced volumes of ore mined as compared to Q4 2017. Volumes of ore milled were also reduced during the period due to plant mechanical problems and delayed availability of parts. These mechanical problems have now been remedied and, together with the improved weather outlook, it is anticipated that the plant should process in excess of 30,000 tonnes per month in future quarters.

  • 28% decrease in tonnes of ore mined in Q1 2018 to 65,342 tonnes (Q4 2017: 90,874 tonnes)
  • 6% decrease in tonnes of ore milled in Q1 2018 to 80,639 tonnes (Q4 2017: 86,097 tonnes)
  • 4% increase in gold production in Q1 2018 to 6,326 ounces (Q4 2017: 6,057 ounces)
  • 14% increase in gold sold in Q1 2018 to 6,549 ounces (Q4 2017: 5,729 ounces)
  • 13% increase in milled gold grade in Q1 2018 to 2.78g/t (Q4 2017: 2.46g/t)

Manaila Production Summary
(commissioned on 14August 2015, Vast Ownership 100%.):

The focus of activity at Manaila during the quarter continued to be pre-stripping, together with plant maintenance and repairs, in order to ensure the sustainable supply of product to satisfy the offtake agreement and funding offer concluded on 21 March 2018 with global energy and commodity trading company Mercuria Trading SA ('Mercuria').

As previously advised, the winter months (December to February) are often used by Romanian mining companies for general repairs and maintenance due to the severe weather conditions, which significantly affect metal recoveries. The Company has adopted this philosophy whilst utilising the existing, non-insulated, metallurgical plant, and whilst exposing ore in readiness for the levels of concentrate contracted for delivery to Mercuria commencing in April 2018.

As a result of the plant shut down and focus on waste stripping, the stripping ratio has shown a significant increase over the past two quarters and will allow for the required ore grade to be delivered to the plant. The stripping ratio has increased by 85% from 10.4 times to 19.4 times on a tonne for tonne basis.

  • 35% decrease in tonnes of ore mined in Q1 2018 to 15,344 dry tonnes (Q4 2017: 23,622 dry tonnes)
  • 47% decrease in tonnes of ore milled in Q1 2018 to 13,616 dry tonnes (Q4 2017: 25,654 dry tonnes)
  • 86% increase in the stripping ratio of waste versus ore in Q1 2018 to 7.8 x (Q4 2017: 4.2 x)
  • 31% decrease in copper concentrate produced in Q1 2018 to 386 dry tonnes (Q4 2017: 562 dry tonnes)
  • 6% increase in copper concentrate grade in Q1 2018 to 17.3% (Q4 2017: 16.3%)
  • 13% decrease in zinc concentrate produced in Q1 2018 to 84 dry tonnes (Q4 2017: 96 dry tonnes)
  • 18% decrease in zinc concentrate grade in Q1 2018 to 30.4% (Q4 2017: 37.1%)
  • 100% decrease in gold concentrate in Q1 2018 to zero dry tonnes (Q4 2017: 6 dry tonnes)

Recent Production Performance:

Importantly, during the 15-day period to 31 March 2018, the copper ore milled grade rose to 0.84%, from the average 0.56% reported in Q4 2017. The copper concentrate grade improved during this period to 19.2%, and 153 dry tonnes was produced with this enhanced performance continuing over the month of April 2018. A profile of the performance over the periods 17-31 March 2018 and 1-15 April 2018 is shown below.

Manaila Units 15days to 31Mar'18 15days to 15Apr'18
Ore mined Tonnes 3,071 2,028
Waste mined Cubic Metre 16,638 11,282
Stripping ratio Tonnes 11.8 12.8
Ore milled Tonnes 3,514 3,810
Milled Grade – Cu Percentage 0.84% 0.79%
Milled Grade – Zn Percentage 0.89% 0.91%
Concentrate produced – Cu Dry tonnes 153 160
Percentage 18.2% 19.4%
Concentrate produced – Zn Dry tonnes 44 35
Percentage 31.4% 36.1%

Andrew Prelea, Chief Executive Officer, of Vast, commented:
“Our focus during recent months has been to ready ourselves for our next phase of growth – and I see our last couple of quarters as the deep breath before we plunge into unchartered waters.

“This process has been most noticeable in Romania, where our efforts were redoubled to prepare the Manaila Mine to deliver a sustainable, long-term, high quality source of copper and zinc concentrate to satisfy our off-take agreement with Mercuria. These efforts have certainly not been wasted as towards the end of the period, in the lead up to initial deliveries to Mercuria, Manaila has been delivering an excellent performance and I am confident that this will continue. Indeed, post-period end we achieved our largest delivery in terms of volume and monetary value and I believe we are set to meet, and potentially exceed our target for May deliveries.

“The grades continue to increase at depth as expected at Pickstone-Peerless and will continue to do so until we hit the sulphide orebody. Despite the reduction in ore mined and milled, precipitated by heavy rainfall and plant mechanical problems respectively, Pickstone-Peerless still achieved record gold production and sales – which signals a very positive future for the mine.

“The next phase of growth, which we mentioned earlier, is not limited to Manaila and Pickstone-Peerless; we have an expansive strategy for Vast and both Romania and Zimbabwe, we are actively looking at complementary assets and non-dilutive financing structures with which to build Vast into a mid-tier mining company. The first asset off the block was the recently announced Eureka Gold Mine, in which we now hold an indirect 23.75% interest. Currently on care and maintenance, our intention is to recommission this mine in as short timeframe as possible, and it is with this in mind that I look forward to reporting on our enlarged production portfolio in the near future.”

Review of Operations & Development Initiatives

Pickstone-Peerless Gold Mine
Cold commissioning of the flotation section of the sulphide plant at Pickstone-Peerless is completed and the flotation plant is on standby for the sulphide ore. The ultra-fine grind mills are in the process of being installed and commissioned in preparation for the processing of the sulphide flotation concentrate derived from the sulphide flotation plant.

Grade control drilling and further exploration works within the claim area is ongoing, as is target pre-stripping and stockpiling to replenish stock consumed during the rainy period in Q1.

Manaila Polymetallic Mine
Stripping at Manaila is continuing at normal rates in accordance with forecasts. Drilling and blasting is on target to achieve the average head grades to the plant and ensure the continuity of deliveries to our offtakes.

Geological and topographical survey and documentation for the expansion of the mine in to the Carlibaba area has been completed.

The tender file for civil works design, technical design and environmental impact study related to the new metalogical plant has been completed. Land acquisition and consolidation is also in progress.

Production Statistics

March 2018 Quarterly Production Summary

Pickstone-Peerless Units Mar'18 Quarter Dec'17 Quarter Sep'17 Quarter June'17 Quarter Mar'17 Quarter
Ore mined Tonnes 65,342 90,874 71,533 68,659 51,660
Waste and low-grade ore mined Tonnes 1,596,078 1,311,329 1,039,570 1,035,785 546,126
Stripping ratio Tonnes 24.4 14.4 14.5 15.1 10.6
Ore milled Tonnes 80,639 86,097 68,431 58,923 51,102
Milled Grade Grams per tonne 2.78 2.46 2.41 2.35 2.06
Gold produced Ounces 6,326 6,057 4,738 4,037 2,974
Gold sold Ounces 6,549 5,729 4,711 3,992 2,873
Gold in stock at period end Ounces 887 1,110 782 755 710


Manaila Units Mar'18 Quarter Dec'17 Quarter Sep'17 Quarter June'17 Quarter Mar'17 Quarter
Ore mined Tonnes 15,344 23,622 40,462 27707 19,711(1)
Waste mined Cubic Metre 119,090 98,933 119,003 53,267 45,143
Stripping ratio Tonnes 19.4 10.5 7.4 4.8 5.7
Ore milled Tonnes 13,616 25,654 39,135 28082 18,262(1)
Milled Grade – Cu Percentage 0.67% 0.56% 0.70% 0.73% 0.79%
Milled Grade – Zn Percentage 0.69% 0.58% 0.70% 0.74% 0.76%
Concentrate produced – Cu Dry tonnes 386 562 1082 828 526
Percentage 17.3% 16.3% 17.9% 18.2% 18.8%
Concentrate produced – Zn Dry tonnes 84 96 118 157 132
Percentage 30.4% 37.1% 42.3% 39.8% 26.3%
Concentrate produced – Au Dry tonnes 0 6 7
Grams per tonne 86.0 31.4
Concentrate sold – Cu Dry tonnes 0 590 1079 995 321
Concentrate sold – Zn Dry tonnes 0 100 92 252 0
Concentrate in stock at period end Cu Dry tonnes 398 12 41 38 206
Concentrate in stock at period end Zn Dry tonnes 143 59 63 37 132
Concentrate in stock at period end Au Dry tonnes 6 6

Quarterly Conference Call

Andrew Prelea, Chief Executive of Vast, will host a conference call for shareholders at 11.00a.m. (UK time) on 8 May 2018.

To participate in this conference call, please dial 0808 109 0701, or +44 (0) 20 3003 2701 if you are calling from outside of the UK and enter participant pin 8646252# when prompted to do so. Please note that all lines will be muted except for Vast's management, however the Company invites shareholders to submit questions to its public relations adviser, St Brides Partners Ltd, ahead of the call via email to shareholderenquiries@stbridespartners.co.uk or through the online chat function that will run alongside the call.

To access the online chat function, please use the link below and log in as a participant using the event number 958269882 followed by the password, 'Vast':

https://sbmf.webex.com/sbmf/onstage/g.php?MTID=e3c4f583c8f982addc632d2115d3093d5

On the right-hand side of the screen you will find an option to submit questions during the call. The Q&A function will only be made live once the call has commenced.

The management team will strive to answer as many questions as possible during the call. A recording of the call will also be made available on the Company's website.

If you have any problems accessing the call, please contact St Brides Partners Ltd on shareholderenquiries@stbridespartners.co.uk or call +44 (0) 20 7236 1177.

A copy of the presentation will also be uploaded to the Research, Media & Presentations page of the website at www.vastresourcesplc.com shortly before the call commences.

Competent Person's Review:
This announcement has been reviewed by Mr Craig Harvey, Chief Operating Officer at Vast, and a member of the Geological Society of South Africa and the Australian Institute of Geoscientists. Mr Harvey meets the definition of a “qualified person” as defined in the AIM Note for Mining, Oil and Gas Companies.

**ENDS**

For further information, visit www.vastresourcesplc.com or please contact:

Vast Resources plc
Andrew Prelea (Chief Executive Officer)
www.vastresourcesplc.com
+44 (0) 20 7236 1177

Beaumont Cornish – Financial & Nominated Adviser
Roland Cornish
James Biddle

www.beaumontcornish.com
+44 (0) 020 7628 3396
Brandon Hill Capital Ltd – Joint Broker
Jonathan Evans

www.brandonhillcapital.com
+44 (0) 20 3463 5016
SVS Securities Plc – Joint Broker
Tom Curran
Ben Tadd
www.svssecurities.com
+44 (0) 20 3700 0100



St Brides Partners Ltd
Susie Geliher
Charlotte Page


www.stbridespartners.co.uk
+44 (0) 20 7236 1177

The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014 (“MAR”).


This announcement is distributed by Nasdaq Corporate Solutions on behalf of Nasdaq Corporate Solutions clients.
The issuer of this announcement warrants that they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein.
Source: Vast Resources plc via Globenewswire