Newmont Goldcorp has announced that the Ahafo mill expansion in Ghana achieved commercial production, on schedule and within budget for around $175 million.
Combined with the Subika Underground operation, which was successfully completed in November 2018, the mill expansion is expected to increase Ahafo’s average annual gold production to between 550,000-650,000 oz/y through 2024, while lowering life-of-mine processing costs.
“The Ahafo mill expansion represents our third profitable project delivered on schedule and within budget in 2019, along with the Tanami power project in Australia and the Borden mine in Canada,” said Tom Palmer, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The mill expansion is expected to generate an internal rate of return of more than 20% at a $1,200 gold price, while also extending profitable production at Ahafo through at least 2029.”
Features and benefits of the mill expansion include:
- Increasing mill capacity at Ahafo by more than 50% to nearly 10 Mt/y with the addition of a crusher, grinding mill and leach tanks to the circuit;
- Adding annual gold production of 75,000 to 100,000 oz/y for the first five full years beginning in 2020;
- Accelerating efficient processing of ore from stockpiles and the Subika underground mine, as well as harder, lower-grade ore from Ahafo’s existing pits; and
- Supporting profitable development of Ahafo’s highly prospective underground resources, which continue to demonstrate considerable upside.
Ahafo is expected to deliver record production this year – with improved costs – driven by higher grades from the Subika open pit, a full year of mining from the Subika underground mine and the completion of the Ahafo mill expansion.
Commercial production began at Ahafo in 2006, and, in 2018, the operation sold 436,000 oz of gold at all-in sustaining costs of $864 per ounce.