Alacer Gold is set to go ahead with construction of the Çöpler Sulfide project in Turkey.

The project is expected to be commissioned by the end of the second quarter of 2018, with first gold pour expected in the third quarter of 2018.

The company plans to ramp-up activities for 18 months to achieve initial design capacity of 1.9 million tonnes throughput rate per year by end of 2019.

Çöpler Sulfide has been designed for whole ore pressure oxidation processing of sulphide ore.

"The project now represents an improved after-tax NPV of $728m."

Alacer Gold president and CEO Rod Antal said: "The positive decision to proceed with the full construction of the Çöpler Sulfide project represents a major milestone.

"The project now represents an improved after-tax NPV of $728m and will provide an after-tax IRR of 19.2%; and a payback of less than three years from the start of sulphide gold production.

"With the project team now having been in place for over a year, significant value has been realised through the extensive detailed engineering and ongoing de-risking efforts, resulting in much greater definition of the project capital estimate which has increased to $744m, with $697m remaining to be spent."

The mine life of the Çöpler operation is expected to exceed 20 years, with remaining gold production of four million ounces.

In April, Alacer Gold received approval for various permits from the Turkish authorities for the Çöpler project.

These included the forestry permits needed to fully construct the sulphide plant, the supporting infrastructure, and the tailings storage facility.

They also allow for completion of the remaining 30% of the heap leach pad phase 4 expansion.