CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Newmont Mining Corp will begin mining at its Ahafo mine in Ghana during the second half of 2005, with the first gold expected in the second half of 2006, the world's largest gold producer said on Tuesday.
William Zisch, group executive for Newmont's Africa operations, said at a mining conference in Cape Town the mine would produce an average 500,000 to 550,000 ounces of gold a year at an average cash cost of $200 an ounce for its first five years.
The nearby Akyen project was forecast to pour its first gold in 2007 and should produce between 450,000 and 500,000 ounces a year at a similar cost structure and an anticipated life span of 15 years, he said.
The company sees its Ghana operations as world-class assets and by the end of 2004 had lifted its expected reserves to 16 million ounces from 11.9 million ounces in 2003.
Ahafo held deposits of about 10.6 million ounces compared to 5.4 million ounces at Akyen.
"Ahafo and Akyen illustrate the power of taking smaller deposits and growing them through exploration, re-evaluation and ingenuity," Zisch said.
"The discovery rate has provided the opportunity to build a long lived core district with Ghana as the cornerstone of Newmont's African strategy," he said.