Alacer Gold has declared commercial production at its new Çöpler sulphide processing plant in eastern Turkey. The open-pit Çöpler mine has been processing oxide ore via heap leaching since 2010 and produced in 170,865 ounces (oz) 2018. Combined production from processing of oxide and sulphide ores in 2019 is forecast to be in the range of 315,000 ounces (oz) to 415,000 oz.
The Çöpler mine is located in Erzincan province about 550 km east of Ankara, Turkey. Alacer holds an 80% interest in the mine. Lidya Madencilik holds the remaining 20%.
Alacer based its declaration of commercial production at the Çöpler sulphide plant on several measures, including throughput, gold recovery rate, production, costs, and overall plant reliability. During May, the sulphide plant averaged a throughput rate of more than 80%, gold recovery was greater than 93%, and plant utilization was greater than 85%. More than 22,000 oz of gold were recovered, and processing costs were in line with expectations.
Overriding these measures was Alacer’s assessment that the sulphide plant will continue to operate consistently and sustainably as it ramps up to full capacity.
“Performance to date provides us with the confidence to reaffirm sulphide plant production in the range of 230,000 to 270,000 oz in 2019 at total cash costs of $425 to $574/ox,” said Alacer President and CEO Rod Antal.
Proven and probable gold reserves of almost 3.7 million contained oz and measured and indicated resources of almost 5.6 million oz provide the foundation for Çöpler’s projected 20-year operating life.