AngloGold Ashanti reported on August 1, that it has started commissioning the Tropicana gold project 330 km east-northeast of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. The project is owned 70% by AngloGold Ashanti Australia and 30% by Independence Group NL. AngloGold Ashanti Australia is the project manager.
The Tropicana project was running somewhat ahead of schedule, with initial gold production expected before the end of September. As of August 1, the tailings storage facility was complete, and the operating team had been mobilized on site. Initial grade control results were in line with the resource model.
Ramp-up will be ongoing during the fourth-quarter of 2013.
Estimated capital expenditures for the Tropicana project remain unchanged at between A$820 million and A$845 million on a 100% basis. Average production and cash operating costs in the first three years remain within previous guidance of between 470,000 and 490,000 oz/y at between A$590 and A$630/oz.
Mining at Tropicana is based on conventional drill-and-blast, truck-and-excavator, open-cut mining methods carried out by mining contractor Macmahon Holdings. The 5.8-million-mt/y processing plant is designed for water and energy efficiency, with the comminution circuit comprising two-stage crushing, high-pressure grinding rolls, and ball milling, followed by a carbon-in-leach circuit for gold recovery.
Combined measured, indicated, and inferred resources at Tropicana as of year-end 2012 totaled 118 million mt, grading 2.08 g/mt and containing 7.89 million oz of gold.