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New Saudi gold mine starts producing

Topographic map of Saudi Arabia by USGS.

The Ad Duwayhi gold mine in Saudi Arabia has begun commercial production, Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Ma’aden) (TADAWUL:1211) said on Sunday.

The mine will produce an estimated 180,000 ounces per year, with output reaching full capacity by the end of this year, said Ma’aden, Saudi Arabia’s largest mining group.

In a statement, the company said the mine in western Saudi Arabia had 1.9 million ounces in reserves, as of December 31.

The open-pit operation includes a conventional gold extraction process plant with crushing and milling facilities, gravity concentration and smelting facilities to produce gold doré on site, before transport to Jeddah.

In a separate press release, Ma’aden also said the Jabel Sayed copper mine has delayed commercial production beyond the first quarter, “to allow for final mechanical testing to be completed.”

Ma’aden formed a joint venture in 2014 with Barrick Gold (NYSE, TSX:ABX) in a deal that saw the Saudi firm acquire 50% of Barrick’s Jabal Sayed for $210 million.

Toronto-based Barrick gained the Jabal Sayed project when it acquired copper miner Equinox in 2011 for US$6.8 billion Most of the construction at the asset had been complete for a while, but output was delayed over permit problems related to safety issues and legacy matters over mining licenses.