Centamin, the leading global gold mining company operating the Sukari Gold Mine in Egypt, has announced a new plan that will extend the mine’s productive life until 2034 and re-establish it as one of the world’s top gold-producing assets. The new plan aims to increase gold production, lower costs, reduce operational risks, and significantly decrease carbon emissions by using solar energy and grid power instead of diesel for electricity generation.
The new plan expects an average annual gold production of 506,000 ounces for the next nine years (2024-2032) and 475,000 ounces for the remaining life of the mine (2024-2034). The total costs are expected to average $922 per ounce of gold sold, positioning Sukari in the lowest half of the global cost curve for gold mines.
Martin Horgan, the CEO of Centamin, said: “The new life of mine plan demonstrates our commitment to maximising cash flows. It not only represents a significant improvement over previously published plans but also includes lower operational risks compared to the past and achieves a notable reduction in carbon emissions.”
The new plan includes a 39% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity over the life of the mine, to 0.69 tonnes CO2-e per ounce, compared to the full year 2022 (1.14 tonnes CO2-e per ounce). This is achieved by integrating grid power into the Sukari electricity mix, combined with the existing 30MW solar plant.
It also includes expanding the high-grade underground operations, and increasing mining rates to 1.4 million tonnes per annum, compared to 0.8 million tonnes mined in the full year 2022. The open pit design has been optimised to result in more ore mined and less waste. A gold gravity circuit has been integrated into the processing plant, which is expected to increase gold recoveries by 2% to 89.8% over the life of the mine, compared to the full year 2022 (88.2%).
The new mine life plan follows a restructuring of the geological approach to exploration at the Sukari mine, which has transformed it from a mine depleting its mineral reserves to a mine achieving growth. The estimated mineral resources at the mine amount to 320 million tonnes grading 1.08 grams of gold per tonne containing 11.11 million ounces of gold, inclusive of 6.0 million ounces of Mineral Reserves.
Horgan said: “The new plan has amalgamated four major work streams: optimisation of the open pit; expansion of the underground mine; optimisation of the processing facility; and fully replacing the use of diesel for stationary power generation.”
He added: “The new plan strives to maximise the value of Sukari as the foundation for growth and diversification while safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders including generating tangible value for Egypt and its people. This plan reduces operational risks and carbon emissions while providing a continuous increase in gold production at an average rate of 506,000 ounces per annum average over the next nine years at a lower AISC of $956 per gold ounce sold, placing Sukari in the bottom half of the global cost curve, driving margins and free cash flow generation.”