Gold miner Centamin has received a report back from its independent consultant Entech that revealed its expansion of the Sukari underground mine in Egypt could return a 31% improvement in its mining rate.
The West Africa-based miner said 15 November that the study supports the potential to expand to 1.5 million tonnes per year of total mined ore – the upper end of its expected range – and, added CEO Martin Horgan, is a “significant step” on its commitment to produce 500,000 oz/y consistently from Sukari.
“The ability to expand the underground is a result of our transformed approach to mineral resource management which delivered a doubling of the underground reserve in 2021, coupled with the productivity and cost benefits that are being realised following the transition to owner mining. The expansion option that we are taking forward to the next phase of mine planning offers both low capital intensity and a lower level of execution risk,” Horgan added.
The study estimated that its investment in the plan will cost between $25 million and $35 million in additional capex, as ventilation upgrades will be needed along with underground development, additional fleet equipment and a possible increase to the capacity of its paste-fill plant.
Centamin is aiming to fully engineer and schedule the expansion during the first half of next year, then ramp up in 2024 with a target steady-state rate in 2025.
Sukari, Egypt’s largest and first modern gold mine, has been in production since 2009. It has a future mine life of about 12 years.