KASIBU, Nueva Vizcaya: The OceanaGold Didipio Mine in this upland town achieved full underground mining rates, producing in the first quarter (Q1) this year 29,446 ounces of gold and 3,510 tons of copper.

Gerard Bond, OceanaGold Didipio president and chief executive officer, said Didipio's achievement reflects a 98-percent increase in gold production and a 51-percent increase in copper production quarter on quarter.

"This represents the first full quarter of operations since the restart of production in November 2021. The underground mine achieved full mining rates at the end of the first quarter, ahead of schedule," Bond said.

He said OceanaGold has already started the year strongly by delivering record quarterly revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization or Ebitda, and significant free cash flow.

"This strong free cash flow generation allowed us to achieve a 29-percent reduction in net debt and reduce our leverage ratio to 0.40 times.

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Our stronger balance sheet puts us in a solid financial position from which we can invest in attractive growth projects to create value for our shareholders," Bond said.

He said this quarter's performance was a very strong first quarter of full production at their Didipio operations in this province.

"At Didipio, the operation achieved full underground mining rates at the end of the first quarter, ahead of schedule by nearly one quarter," he added.

Bond said though there is a lot to celebrate from the quarterly results, they also know that there is a lot of work ahead of them to fully optimize the potential of the business.

"We remain focused on safely and responsibly delivering on our production guidance for 2022, maximizing free cash flow generation and progressing the attractive growth options in our portfolio," he said.

OceanaGold is a multinational gold producer committed to the highest standards of technical, environmental and social performance.

The company said that for 31 years, it has been contributing to excellence in its industry by delivering sustainable environmental and social outcomes for its communities, and strong returns for its shareholders.

"Our global exploration, development and operating experience created an industry-leading pipeline of organic growth opportunities and a portfolio of established operating assets including Didipio Mine in the Philippines; Macraes and Waihi operations in New Zealand; and Haile Gold Mine in the United States of America," Bond said.