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04.07.2006 Business & Finance

Newmont delays first gold pour

By GNA
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Newmont Ghana Gold has delayed the first gold pouring from its Ahafo mine for another three weeks to allow for adequate plant testing and commissioning, the company's Communication Manager, Mawuena Dumor has said.

The first pouring was originally scheduled for July 4, 2006.

Briefing the Ghana News Agency during a mine tour to ascertain the readiness of the take-off, Ms. Dumor said the company was satisfied with the level of progress made so far.

"So far, our Managers and experts are satisfied with the progress and response of the plant, during the testing and commissioning.''

However, she said the process of testing would continue up to three weeks before the first pour. She said processing is currently going on and production would commence on July 4.

Newmont started developing the Ahafo Mine, one of its two Ghana projects in December 2003, while actual construction started in April 2004.

The Company has so far invested 476 million dollars with annual production estimated between 500,000 and 550,000 ounces per annum. The company currently has 16 million ounces of reserves. Gold production by end 2006 is fixed at between 225,000 to 250,000 ounces.

The tour established that the Primary Crusher, blow mill, MMD Crusher, Sag and Ball Mills, Knelson Concentrator and the two Pebble Crushers, among others, were up and rolling.

John Mitchell, Processing Manager of the Ahafo Mine described the equipment at currently operating at 50 per cent capacity.

"I can say that this would be doubled and running at full blast when all our tests, which has proved 70 per cent successful so far, is completed."

Workers at the mine were optimistic and upbeat about their operations. A group of them who spoke to the GNA said they were looking forward to the commencement of actual operations.

Mr Jay Bastian, General Manager, Operations Ahafo Mine said their Ghana mine was a key feature in their worldwide operations and would do everything to ensure that their take-off in Ghana was complete and comprehensive.

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