Chaarat Gold Holdings PLC (LON:CGH) said demand for its output has remained “relatively healthy” and production uninterrupted during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
In fact, it said weakness in the currency in Armenia, home to its Kapan mine, and a sharp fall in the price of fuel used on-site, prompted by the collapse of crude, would likely have a positive impact on the economics of the operation.
In Kyrgyz Republic, construction of the Tulkubash mine has slowed, with the authorities declaring a state of emergency.
This, Chaarat said, is likely to result in a six-month delay to first gold pour, which is now expected in the third quarter of 2022.
Turning to the finances of the business, the company said it has a working capital facility with its largest shareholder, Labro Investments, that will provide it with US$8mln of “additional liquidity”.
Chaarat also said it is in “advanced discussions” with the holder of a US$17mln loan note due at the end of the month. “An appropriate update will be published when a final agreement is reached,” it added in a statement.
Turning to the wider threat from COVID-19, the gold miner said there had been no confirmed cases among its employees.
It has restricted travel and limited visitors to its facilities, while as many people as practicable are working from home.
It said it is taking a “people first” approach – not just to the workforce, but the communities around its operations in Armenia and the Kyrgyz Republic.
So, 10,000 COVID-19 testing kits are on order for communities near both its sites, while funds will be donated to for a new testing lab in the Kyrgyzstan, where it is also supporting communities in the Chatkal region with delivery of essential goods.
In Kapan, Armenia, Chaarat is working with local companies to supply the regional hospital with masks, sanitiser, and goggles.
Chaarat chief executive Artem Volynets said: “We are also pleased to be able to help the communities in which we operate to overcome these difficult times together. While we mitigate the impact of the COVID-19, we will continue to explore opportunities to grow our business further.”