NYSE-listed Newmont Goldcorp Corporation has indicated that its Ahafo Mill Expansion project, in Ghana, has achieved commercial production, on schedule and within budget for about $175 million.

Combined with its Subika Underground project, which was successfully completed in November 2018, the mill expansion is expected to increase Ahafo’s average yearly gold production to between 550 000 ounces and 650 000 ounces a year through 2024, while lowering life-of-mine processing costs.

Tom Palmer, President and CEO, said that the Ahafo Mill Expansion represents the company’s 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.

The mill expansion is expected to generate an internal rate of return of more than 20 percent at a $1,200 gold price, while also extending profitable production at Ahafo through at least 2029.

“I continue to be encouraged by Ahafo’s and Ghana’s mineral prospectivity and the potential for ongoing, profitable growth.”

Features and benefits of the mill expansion include increasing mill capacity at Ahafo by more than 50% to nearly 10 million tonnes per year with the addition of a crusher, grinding mill and leach tanks to the circuit; and adding annual gold production of 75 000 to 100 000 ounces per year for the first five full years beginning in 2020.

Further benefits, explained Palmer, is 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 and the completion of the Ahafo Mill Expansion,” Palmer said.

Commercial production started at Ahafo in 2006, and in 2018 the operation sold 436 000 ounces of gold at all-in sustaining costs of $864 per ounce.

Palmer concluded: “Newmont Goldcorp has the strongest and most sustainable portfolio of operations, projects and exploration prospects in the gold sector. These assets allow the company to sequence profitable projects in its unmatched pipeline to sustain six to seven million ounces of steady gold production over a decades-long time horizon.”

Image: Newmont Goldcorp’s Ahafo Mill Expansion in Ghana (Photo: Business Wire)

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