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13.01.2009 Business & Finance

Australian explorer lowers Ghana gold project's capital cost

By myjoyonline
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ASX-listed Perseus Mining capital cost estimates of its Ayanfuri gold project, in Ghana, fell by 23% with the introduction of heap-leach production into the project's feasibility projections, the gold explorer said on Monday.

The new coarse grind flotation process route would result in material reductions to power, grinding media, cyanide, and other consumable costs, reducing the overall processing cost by an estimated 34%, excluding heap leach.

Perseus MD Mark Calderwood stated that the substantial reduction in processing costs would likely increase the Ayanfur project's potential life-of-mine, by expanding pit sizes when the next optimisation was run.

“This would be complemented by a review of mining costs in light of the significant reduction in fuel costs, the increasingly competitive contract mining industry, and more favourable terms from new equipment suppliers.”

An average gold production of 206 000 oz/y was expected for the first eight years of full production, including 493 000 oz in the first two years. A processing rate of about 4,5-million tons a year was also expected for the flotation carbon-in-leach (CIL), and up to 1,4-million tons a year for the heap-leach.

About 4,9-million tons of oxide and oxide-transition material would be treated through the company's existing uninstalled heap-leach plant, and the 76% recovery rate achieved from the previous heap-leach mining operation had been assumed.

A new mining schedule would also allow for heap leaching to start nine months before completion of the main processing plant. Calderwood estimated that by the time the heap leaching started, cumulative capital expenditure of $60-million would have been incurred, increasing to about $134-million before the flotation-CIL circuit was commissioned.

Gold resources at the Ayanfuri project have been estimated at 3,9-million ounces.

Credit: Esmarie Swanepoel
Source: Miningweekly.com

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