Newmont Mining has announced plans to build a new underground mine and expand plant capacity by more than 50%, intending to extend profitable production through this at its Ahafo operations in Ghana.
The Subika Underground mine is expected to produce 1.8 million ounces of gold over an 11-year mine-life, and features ore grades of 4.7g per tonne.
The company intends to improve margins through this expansion process, which would also support profitable production at Ahafo through at least 2029.
Newmont Mining president and CEO Gary Goldberg said: “We are building on strong performance and solid infrastructure by investing in the next generation of profitable production at Ahafo.
“The Subika Underground mine will also create a platform to support even longer-term growth. Recent exploration results demonstrate considerable upside within the Subika deposit and adjacent Apensu Deeps deposit.”
The environmental permit to build and operate the Subika Underground mine was obtained in March.
First production from the mine is expected in the second half of third year, while commercial production will start in the second half of 2018.
The Ahafo Mill expansion will enhance annual mill capacity by 50% to nearly ten million tonnes, through the addition of a crusher, grinding mill and leach tanks to the circuit.
Expansion supports more efficient processing of harder, lower grade ore from existing surface mines, as well as Ahafo’s stockpiles and the Subika underground mine. Newmont expects first gold production at the mill expansion in the first half of 2019, with commercial production due in the second half of 2019.
The development capital ranging between $300m and $380m will be met by free cash-flow and cash balances.
Commercial production at Ahafo began in 2006 and the operation achieved five million ounces of gold production in October 2016.
Newmont is a gold and copper producer, with operations primarily in the US, Australia, Ghana, Peru and Suriname.
Image: Processing facilities at Newmont's Ahafo gold mine in Ghana. Photo: courtesy of Business Wire.