|ELD.... Eldorado plans five new mines, 1.7Moz Au yearly by 2016|
2012-04-12 06:07 MT - News Release
Mr. Paul Wright reports
ELDORADO'S GROWTH CONTINUES: ANNUAL GOLD PRODUCTION TO REACH 1.7 M OZ. WITHIN 5 YEARS
Eldorado Gold Corp. has released updated guidance in respect to the company's construction schedules, production levels, and capital and operating cost estimates for the period 2012 to 2016, with special emphasis on integration of the company's newly acquired assets in Greece and Romania (all figures in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted).
"Eldorado plans on expanding gold production by roughly 160 per cent over the next five years, making it one of the fastest-growing emerging senior gold producers globally. With industry leading cash costs of approximately $350 per ounce expected over the same period, the company's extensive mine development, construction and expansion programs can be funded largely by growing internal cash flows. Eldorado intends to invest over $1.0-billion in Greece over the next several years in new mine development and related infrastructure. This significant investment will result in material direct and indirect job creation," said Paul Wright, president and chief executive officer of Eldorado Gold.
Key highlights (2012 to 2016):
- Commissioning of five new mines (12 operations globally by 2016);
- Achieve key milestone of 1.5 million ounces of gold production in 2015;
- Production of 1.7 million ounces of gold annually (growth of 160 per cent) by 2016;
- Average cash operating cost (net of byproducts) for the period of approximately $350 per ounce;
- Development capex of $1.95-billion.
Olympias project, Greece
The Olympias project consists of a polymetallic massive sulphide deposit located eight kilometres north of the company's operating Stratoni mine. As previously reported (March 22, 2012), Hellas Gold has received the approval of the technical study of the Olympias mine from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
The Olympias operating statistics table summarizes the life-of-mine operating statistics for Olympias. Olympias has an expected mine life of 22 years (based on proved and probable reserves) and will operate in three phases. Phase I consists of processing the existing 2.4 million tonnes of surface tailings that will commence in the third quarter of 2012, as well as refurbishment of the underground mine. Eldorado expects to process approximately 320,000 tonnes of tailings during 2012, which will result in the production of approximately 35,000 tonnes of a pyrite concentrate containing 20.0 grams per tonne gold. Tailings will continue to be processed at a rate of 720,000 tonnes per year until they are exhausted in 2015.
Phase II at Olympias consists of production from the underground mine at a mining rate of 400,000 to 500,000 tonnes per year, beginning in the second half of 2015. Run-of-mine ore processing will produce three concentrates (lead-silver, zinc and the gold-bearing pyrite/arsenopyrite). The recovery of the lead, silver, zinc and gold to their respective concentrates will be in the range of plus or minus 90 per cent based on the previous operating history at Olympias. It is anticipated that with modern equipment and automated process control, the historical recoveries could be exceeded.
Eldorado is in the process of negotiating contracts for the sale of gold-bearing pyrite concentrate and will update the market as detailed contract terms are reached. Contracts for the sale of lead-silver and zinc concentrates at Olympias will be negotiated prior to phase II production; however the company's estimates of byproduct revenue in those years have been calculated using similar terms as those set out in the contracts for concentrate sales at the company's operating Stratoni mine (see Stratoni section below).
Phase III at Olympias is presently planned and permitted to commence in 2018 and includes the construction of a new mill at Stratoni capable of processing ore at rate of 850,000 tonnes per year. An 8.5-kilometre tunnel that is currently under construction will be used to transport ore from Olympias to the new mill and will also serve as an exploration platform to test several prospective targets in the area. The new facility at Stratoni will continue to produce lead-silver, zinc and gold-bearing pyrite concentrates; however, Eldorado is currently conducting additional metallurgical testwork to determine the final design and economics of using flash-smelting technology to extract the gold on site. The company would also like to emphasize that the final design and capacity of the new mill will also be ultimately influenced by exploration success at the neighbouring Piavitsa prospect and other prospective targets within a 10-kilometre radius of the proposed site.