Newmont Corp’s Board of Directors has approved advancing the Ahafo North project, in Ghana, into the execution phase, setting the company up to develop four open-pit mines and a standalone 3.7 Mt/y plant.
The project exceeds the company’s required internal rate of return, adding profitable production from the best unmined gold deposit in West Africa, it said.
Newmont President and CEO, Tom Palmer, said: “I am pleased to announce the approval of full funding for the Ahafo North project, expanding our existing footprint in Ghana and adding more than 3 Moz of gold production over an initial 13-year mine life. The development of this prolific orebody will leverage our proven operating model and will be supported by our existing world-class Ahafo South operation.
“The project will be developed and operated in a sustainable and responsible manner to create value for all our stakeholders.”
Located some 30 km north of Newmont’s existing Ahafo South operations (pictured) – which are expected to produce 515,000 oz of gold this year – Ahafo North’s production is expected to average approximately 275,000-325,000 oz/y with all-in sustaining costs of $600-$700/oz for the first five years. Projected capital costs are estimated to be between $750-$850 million with construction expected to be complete in the second half of 2023. At current gold prices, the project is expected to deliver more than a 30% internal rate of return, Newmont said.
The project will create approximately 1,800 jobs at the peak of construction with more than 550 permanent roles created once the mine is operational.
“Newmont will work to create lasting value for host communities through local sourcing and hiring,” the company said, adding that a key aspect of the Ahafo North project’s workforce planning will be a target to achieve gender parity in the workforce when operations begin.
The full scope of funding will be deployed to high-impact activities, including but not limited to finalising engineering and EPCM services, relocating the national highway and support of additional resettlement activities, mining development for four open pits, constructing and commissioning a 3.7 Mt/y plant, constructing a tailings and wastewater management storage facility, long-lead sourcing including the acquisition of 14 Caterpillar 770 haul trucks.