Alacer eyes growth at Copler

The Çöpler mine in eastern Turkey. Image by Alacer Gold.

Alacer Gold met its production targets for 2019, turning out 391,200 oz. of gold from its Copler mine in eastern Turkey, at all-in sustaining costs of $710 per oz.

“This outcome was a direct result of the continued successful ramp up of the sulphide plant coupled with the ongoing in-pit exploration success that allowed us to increase oxide production guidance twice last year,” said Alacer president and CEO Rod Antal in a release. “As a result, we generated over $215 million of unlevered free cash flow and deleveraged the balance sheet to $47 million of net debt, providing financial flexibility for the next leg of growth.”

The company owns 80% of the Copler open pit gold mine in Erzincan province, 550 km east of Ankara, and the Cakmaktepe mine about 5 km away from Copler. Copler contains both oxide and sulphide ore, and Alacer has two processing plants to treat the two types of ore. Commercial production at the Copler sulphide plant began in May 2019.

For 2020, the company expects to produce a total of between 310,000 oz. and 360,000 oz. gold at AISC of $785 per oz.

Antal said Alacer has identified near, medium and long-term organic growth opportunities to support an increase in production to between 300,000 oz. and 400,000 per year for the next 10 years.

“These opportunities will underpin a refresh of the Copler NI 43-101 technical report that we expect to issue later in 2020 as a first step to define our exceptional growth potential,” he added.

Total reserves at the end of 2018 at Copler (including both oxide and sulphide ore and the Cakmaktepe deposit) stood at 46.1 million tonnes grading 2.47 g/t gold, 5.78 g/t silver and 0.02% copper for 3.7 million contained oz. gold, 8.6 million oz. silver and 15.7 million lb. copper.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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