Newmont Goldcorp’s Ahafo mill in Ghana yields first ore after expansion
Newmont Goldcorp’s (NYSE: NEM) (TSX: NGT) Ahafo mill expansion project in Ghana has processed its first ore and remains on track to achieve commercial production in the fourth quarter.
The upgrade was designed to improve production margins and accelerate stockpile processing, while supporting the gold mine’s underground resource.
The project is expected to increase average annual gold production at the Ahafo mine by between 75,000 and 100,000 ounces for the first five years, starting in 2020.
“Combined with Subika underground, which was successfully completed in November 2018, the mill expansion will increase Ahafo’s production to between 550 000 oz/y and 650 000 oz/y through 2024, while lowering life-of-mine processing costs,” the company’s president Tom Palmer said in a statement.
It also accelerates the processing of stockpiled ore and supports profitable development of the mine’s underground resources, he added.
The expansion is expected to deliver an internal rate of return of more than 20% and, together with other projects at Ahafo, will extend profitable production through to at least 2029.
This year, the mine is expected to achieve record production – with improved costs – driven by higher grades from the Subika open- pit, a full year of mining from the Subika Underground and the completion of the Ahafo Mill expansion (AME).
Capital costs for the AME are estimated at between $140-million and $180-million and have been funded through free cash flow and available cash balances.
Commercial production at Ahafo, located about 190 miles northwest of the capital city of Accra, began in 2006.
Last year, the mine sold 436,000 ounces of gold at all-in sustaining costs of $864 per ounce.