|Kinross Gold will wait until 2015 at the earliest to make a construction decision on enlarging its Tasiast gold mine in Mauritania. If the project is approved, it will allow Tasiast to eventually reach a production level of 848,000 oz/y in the five years following the tentative expansion. (Photo courtesy of Kinross Gold)|
Kinross Gold announced the results of the feasibility study for a planned expansion project at its Tasiast gold mine in Mauritania. The study, based on an optimal mill size of 38,000 metric tons per day (mt/d), estimates gold production during the first five years of expanded operations (2018 to 2022) at 848,000 oz/y at all-in costs of $792/oz. Cumulative production to 2029 is forecast at 9 million oz.
The Tasiast mine produced 247,818 oz of gold in 2013.
Initial capital expenditure for the expansion is estimated at approximately $1.6 billion, down from a pre-feasibility estimate of $2.7 billion.
Kinross does not expect to make a final construction decision on the Tasiast expansion project until 2015 at the earliest. In the interim, a number of activities will be pursued to maintain project momentum and further enhance the viability of the expansion plan.
The Tasiast feasibility study includes a 3.1-million-oz increase in Tasiast’s estimated mineral reserves to 9.6 million oz. The study is based on replacing the existing 8,000-mt/d mill with a new 38,000-mt/d mill, using heavy fuel oil for power generation at site. The new mill would consist of a primary crusher, a SAG and ball mill grinding circuit, and a conventional carbon-in-leach (CIL) circuit. Overall CIL grades are expected to average 2.09 g/mt for the first five years of expanded production and 1.76 g/mt over the life of the mine.
Existing dump leach facilities would be phased out in 2019 but could be available for lower-grade ore in the future if it becomes economically viable, or if new ore is discovered in near-mine deposits.
Total cash costs of expanded production are estimated to average $501/oz for the first five years of operation and $616/oz life of mine. All-in costs for the first five years of production are forecast at $792/oz, including construction of a sea water pipeline, and $878/oz life of mine.
The Tasiast expansion project is expected to take three years to complete based on a 2015 construction start date and is expected to generate $2.5 billion in free cash flow over the life of the mine.
The expanded project is also expected to generate substantial, positive economic benefits for Mauritania and its people, including a significant increase in GDP resulting from additional taxes, wages, earnings, and locally supplied goods and services.