Newmont Goldcorp announced that the Ahafo Mill Expansion (AME) project in Ghana successfully processed its first ore and is on track to achieve commercial production in the fourth quarter of 2019. The mill expansion will increase average annual gold production at the Ahafo mine by between 75,000 and 100,000 ounces (oz) for the first five years, beginning in 2020, with mill capacity expanding by more than 50% through the addition of a crusher, grinding mill and leach tanks. The project is expected to deliver an internal rate of return of more than 20% and, together with other projects at Ahafo, will extend profitable production through at least 2029.
“Combined with Subika Underground, which was successfully completed in November 2018, the mill expansion will increase Ahafo’s production to between 550,000 and 650,000 ounces per year through 2024, while lowering life-of-mine processing costs,” said Tom Palmer, president, Newmont Goldcorp. “The project also accelerates the efficient processing of stockpiled ore and supports profitable development of Ahafo’s highly prospective underground resources, which continue to demonstrate considerable upside.”
In 2019, Ahafo is expected to achieve record production — with improved costs — driven by higher grades from the Subika open pit, a full year of mining from the Subika Underground and the completion of the Ahafo Mill Expansion. Capital costs for the AME are estimated at between $140 million and $180 million and have been funded through free cash flow and available cash balances. Commercial production began at Ahafo in 2006, and in 2018 the operation sold 436,000 oz of gold at all-in sustaining costs of $864/oz.