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K92 Mining release annual production record

K92 Mining Inc. announces production results for the fourth quarter (“Q4”) of 2022 at its Kainantu Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea, of 35,538 oz AuEq or 31,204 oz gold, 1,827,085 lbs copper and 40,517 oz silver.

Annual production achieved a record of 122,806 oz AuEq or 107,546 oz gold, 6,247,950 lbs copper and 126,043 oz silver, achieving the guidance range of 115,000 to 140,000 oz AuEq and increasing 18% year over year. Sales during the fourth quarter were 35,212 oz gold, 1,923,116 lbs copper and 44,828 oz silver. Annual sales were 110,654 oz gold, 6,072,879 lbs copper and 125,155 oz silver.

During the fourth quarter, the process plant delivered record quarterly ore processed of 121,686 tonnes or 1,323 tpd, an increase of 22% from Q4 2021. On an annual basis, a record 448 kt of ore was processed, increasing 33% from 2021. Importantly, in November, the process plant achieved record monthly throughput of 1,382 tpd, greater than the Stage 2A Expansion run-rate of 1,370 tpd. The strong throughput is especially significant as the final Stage 2A Expansion plant upgrade is not yet complete, with the flotation expansion that will double rougher capacity expected to be commissioned in Q1 2023.

Kainantu Gold Mine

The flotation expansion is expected to provide a boost to metallurgical recoveries and provide flexibility to potentially increase throughput further and beyond the Stage 2A design-run rate (500,000 tpa / 1,370 tpd). The new filter press and TC-1000 secondary/tertiary crusher for Stage 2A are installed and operational.

Mine performance during the fourth quarter recorded 111,448 tonnes of ore mined, and delivered a total material mined (ore plus waste) record of 287,446 tonnes mined, representing an increase of 28% from Q4 2021. On an annual basis, material movements of 448 kt of ore mined and 994 kt of total material mined both achieved records, increasing 40% and 25% from 2021, respectively. During the quarter, long hole stoping continued to perform to the design, with operations focused on Kora’s K1 and K2 veins, and Judd’s J1 Vein for a total of 11 levels mined. Mining on Kora was conducted on the 1130, 1150, 1170, 1205, 1245, 1265 and 1285 levels, and Judd on the 1235, 1265, 1285 and 1305 levels.

The operation delivered head grades of 8.75 g/t gold, 0.74% copper and 13.31 g/t silver (9.98 g/t AuEq) in Q4. Metallurgical recoveries averaged 91.2% for gold and 91.8% for copper during the quarter, with recoveries expected to improve upon the commissioning of the flotation expansion in Q1 2023.

Record mine development advance was achieved in the fourth quarter, of 2,221 metres (including the twin incline), a 45% increase from Q4 2021. Twin incline development advance also made significant progress, exceeding the budget by 76% during the quarter and by 52% during 2022. As of December 31, 2022, incline #2 (6m x 6.5m) advanced to 1,843 metres and #3 (5m x 5.5m) advanced to 1,811 metres. On an annual basis, record overall underground development of 7.5 km was achieved, a 31% increase from 2021.

The Kainantu Gold Mine operates under a comprehensive COVID-19 Management Plan that has continuously operated during the pandemic. A considerable focus is on health and safety and risk-mitigation. Under the COVID-19 Management Plan, K92 has: established a Government-recognized testing lab facility utilizing qualified medical personnel on site; set up quarantine and isolation facilities for incoming staff (currently not in use); and implemented enhanced hygiene, disinfecting and training systems and procedures. A focus has been towards supporting Government efforts at a national, provincial and local level through the 1.5 million PGK (Papua New Guinea Kina) COVID-19 Assistance Fund, and a further 1.0 million PGK of additional assistance funding to Eastern Highlands Province.

In addition to its various control measures, K92 continues to make considerable progress increasing resiliency through vaccinations of our expatriate and PNG national workforce, with vaccinations continuing to be administered on site. Over 75% of our workforce (employees and contractors) have received at least one vaccine dose. The Company is in close communications with the provincial and national health authorities of Papua New Guinea and the Government of Australia in addition to the Papua New Guinea Chamber of Mines and Petroleum to deliver an effective pandemic response.

John Lewins, K92 Chief Executive Officer and Director, stated, “We are very pleased with the performance of the Kainantu Gold Mine in the fourth quarter. Once again, Kainantu achieved multiple operational records, delivering record mill throughput, total mined material, and underground development rates. Quarterly production was the second highest on record, with 35,538 oz AuEq produced and on an annual basis we confidently achieved our production guidance.

The performance of the process plant has been a major positive. During the quarter, another new daily throughput record of 1,714 tonnes processed was achieved and on a monthly basis, Stage 2A Expansion throughput rates of 1,370 tpd have already been achieved ahead of the flotation expansion, the last major upgrade of the Stage 2A Expansion. The flotation expansion which will double rougher capacity, is now planned to be commissioned in Q1 2023, and is expected to provide a boost to not only recoveries but also plant flexibility, with the potential to ultimately exceed the Stage 2A Expansion run-rate.

In the mine, Kainantu delivered record material mined of 287 kt and record development advance of 2,221 metres, representing a 28% and 45% increase from Q4 2021, respectively. Development, as noted in previous press releases, is a major focus going forward as we open up the mine ahead of the Stage 3 and Stage 4 Expansions while also boosting our immediate mine operational flexibility. I am pleased to report that quarter over quarter, development advance increased 18% in Q4. The strong increase has been driven by a combination of a new replacement jumbo, improvements in ventilation, haulage, drill and blast, plus improvements to maintenance and servicing, benefiting from the recently constructed new equipment workshop. We expect development advance to continue to increase through 2023, as new equipment arrives and the development cycle continues to be optimized.

As we look at 2023, we have tremendous excitement about our exploration programs. The number of drills will be ramping up from 11 to 13 and our focus is on resource growth. Surface drilling plans to focus on Kora South, Judd South, Judd and the A1 Porphyry, with underground drilling focusing on Kora, Kora South, Judd, Judd South and Northern Deeps. The strong development advance from our southern drill drive and twin incline is also opening up new prospective drilling horizons.”

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