Alacer Gold has released a positive preliminary feasibility study of gold production from sulphide ores at its Çöpler mine in east-central Turkey, where production from heap leaching of oxide ores began in December 2010. The Çöpler sulphide prefeasibility study includes an increase in the project’s gold reserves from 2.2 million oz to 4.6 million oz and an anticipated increase in life-of-mine gold production from 1.3 million oz to 3.7 million oz. A detailed feasibility study of Çöpler sulphide development has begun and is forecast for completion in the second half of 2012.
The Çöpler sulphide prefeasibility study was prepared by Samuel Engineering based on resource and reserve estimates prepared by Micon International. The study assumes processing of a total of 33.1 million mt of ore over a 10-year mine life. Plant throughput is planned at 8,000 mt/d. The flowsheet is based on conventional crushing and milling, followed by pressure oxidation. Life-of-mine metal production from the pressure oxidation plant is estimated at 2.25 million oz of gold and 91 million lb of copper.
Initial capital expenditure for construction of the Çöpler sulphide circuit is estimated at $410.3 million, including a $66 million contingency. Initial production from the plant is forecast to start two years after final feasibility. Total cash costs of production net of copper byproduct credits are estimated at $430/oz of gold.
Proven and probable reserves at Çöpler currently include 63 million mt of leach ore grading 1.1 g/mt gold and 33.1 million mt of pressure oxidation ore grading 2.25 g/mt gold. Combined recoverable ounces from both ore types are estimated at 3.67 million oz.
Alacer Gold is the renamed company that emerged from the merger of Anatolia Minerals Development and Avoca Resources, announced in September 2010 and completed in February 2011. The primary assets of the merged company are located in east-central Turkey, from Anatolia, and on the Kalgoorlie-Norseman gold belt in Western Australia, from Avoca.