Alacer Gold will move ahead of development for a sulphide ore processing project at the Çöpler mine in eastern Turkey.
Alacer Gold’s board of directors has approved development of the Çöpler sulphide project at its 80%-owned Çöpler gold mine in Erzincan province, eastern Turkey. The Çöpler mine has been processing oxide ore via an open-pit, heap leach process since late 2010. A definitive feasibility study of sulphide ore processing via whole-ore pressure oxidation was completed in June 2014. The sulphide project is forecast to extend Çöpler mine life by 22 years, producing a total of 3.9 million oz of gold at all-in sustaining costs averaging $637/oz.
Alacer is now advancing the sulphide project into detailed engineering and procurement of long-lead time items. Land-use permitting required to begin project construction has advanced through the regulatory process, and permits are currently awaiting final approval.
Alacer has also announced increased mineral reserves and resources estimates and an updated production profile for the Çöpler property. The estimates add 245,000 oz of gold to life-of-mine oxide production and 555,000 oz of gold to life-of-mine sulphide production. Oxide reserves currently stand at 720,000 recoverable gold oz, while sulphide reserves stand at 3.1 million recoverable gold oz.
In developing its new production schedule, Alacer placed emphasis on maximizing production from oxide ores between now and startup of the sulphide plant and also on producing the highest-grade sulphide ores during the initial years of sulphide production.
The current heap leach oxide operation will continue in parallel to the pressure oxidation sulphide operation as long as leachable ore is available.