The Ağı Dağı gold-silver mine owned by Alamos Gold is located in the Çanakkale Province, Biga Peninsula, in the north-western region of Turkey. It will be developed to be a stand-alone, open-pit, heap-leach operation that will produce gold and silver doré bars.
The pre-feasibility study for the project was completed in 2012 and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was approved in August 2014. First gold production from the mine is expected in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Annual average production during the mine life of seven years is expected to be 143,000oz of gold and 271,000oz of silver.
Mine location, geology and reserves
Alamos Gold acquired the Kirazli and Ağı Dağı mining properties from Teck and Fronteer Development for a consideration of approximately $90m in January 2010. The Ağı Dağı deposit is located approximately 50km south-east of Çanakkale and comprises 10,514ha of mineral tenure in 15 contiguous operation and exploration licenses.
The gold-silver mine is an epithermal type deposit composed of high-sulphidation, disseminated gold system with the gold mineralisation hosted within the Miocene-age rocks.
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The property consists of Oligo-Miocene volcanic rock sequence, comprising andesite porphyry, porphyritic andesite and dacite-rhyolite flows and tuffs. The andesite porphyry facies are located at the base of the sequence while the dacite-rhyolite facies are located at the top.
Phreatic and phreatomagmatic rocks in the volcanic sequence extend in north-east direction to a vertical depth of 400m and over a 2km strike length. Pyrite is the abundantly found primary sulphide mineral in these sulphide rocks, while small traces of enargite, covellite, galena and molybdenum are also found.
Most of the mineralisation is contained within a north-east trending silica cap rock in a topographic height of 700m-900m. The mineralisation is mostly disseminated and is associated with intense silicic alteration comprising massive and vuggy silica.
The Aği Daği mine is divided into five main zones, namely Baba, Ayi Tepe, Ihlamur, Fire Tower and Deli zones. The Baba, Fire Tower, and Deli zones are located in the south-eastern basin, while the Ayi Tepe and Ihlamur zones lie in the north-western basin.
The mine is estimated to contain measured and indicated resources of 88.20Mt of ore containing 1.6Mt of gold and 11.35Mt of silver as of 31 December 2013.
Mining and processing of ore
Initial mining at Ağı Dağı will be conducted at the Baba and Deli pits, based on the ore exposure and gold grades.
The open pit will be mined using conventional drill and blast method, which will be followed by loading and hauling method. The ore will be transported to the primary crusher while the waste will be delivered to the waste dumps.
The mining fleet will consist of DM25-SP DHD drillers, Cat 992 loaders, Cat 777 haul trucks, Cat D9T track dozers, Cat 824 wheel dozers, an Atlas Copco ECM 590 drill and a Cat 324E excavator.
The processing plant will process 30,000tpd of ore and will be equipped with a multiple-lift, single-use leach pad. The run-of-mine ore will be processed using the primary crusher, followed by an open circuit secondary crushing to a nominal size of one inch. The ore will be mixed with cement in an agglomeration drum and stacked on the heap leach pad by conveyor stacking.
Stacked material will be processed at the single heap leach facility to be constructed on the northern side of the mine site. The ore will be heap leached using dilute cyanide solutions and producing precious metals, which will pass through carbon adsorption-desorption-recovery (ADR) plants to produce gold/silver doré bars.
Construction and infrastructure facilities
Access to the gold-silver mine is by forestry roads from Söğütalan in the north, Karakoy in the west and Kizilelma in the south.
Power supply will be provided from a substation at the Çan coal-powered generating station. Approximately 20km of new power line will be constructed to transfer power to the mine. The mine will also include a 1,500kW diesel-fired generator as a backup, in case of a power failure.
Water required for the project will be supplied through a pipeline from the Altın Zeybek reservoir.