Dual-listed Newmont Goldcorp's Ahafo Mill expansion (AME) project, in Ghana, has processed its first ore and remains on track to achieve commercial production in the fourth quarter.
Mill capacity has been expanded by more than 50% through the addition of a crusher, grinding mill and leach tanks.
The expansion will increase gold production at the Ahafo mine by between 75 000 oz/y and 100 000 oz/y for the first five years, beginning in 2020.
“Combined with Subika Underground, which was successfully completed in November 2018, the mill expansion will increase Ahafo’s production to between 550 000 oz/y and 650 000 oz/y through 2024, while lowering life-of-mine processing costs.
“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,” Newmont president Tom Palmer said on Tuesday.
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 to at least 2029.
In 2019, Ahafo is expected to achieve record production – with improved costs – driven by higher grades from the Subika openpit, a full year of mining from the Subika Underground and the completion of the AME.
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.