Eldorado Gold has suspended a previously announced $500m mill project at the Kisladag gold mine in the Usak Province in Turkey owing to economic reasons.
The mill project was estimated to increase the production of the Kisladag gold mine to 270,000-ounce-per-annum with a nine year mining life.
However, Eldorado said that it will resume mining, crushing, stacking and heap leaching at the Turkish gold mine. In April 2018, the company stopped stacking ore on the leach pad and had carried out production since then from the remaining inventory on the leach pad.
Eldorado president and CEO George Burns said: “The decision to restart mining and heap leaching at Kisladag is supported by improved heap leach recoveries and confirmed by a revised heap leaching plan developed in early 2019.
“The revised heap leaching plan results in favourable economics when compared to milling, without the risks associated with the construction and financing of a $500 million project.”
Compared to the mill project, Eldorado said that heap leaching at the gold mine is expected to result in an increase in production and free cash flow in the coming three years. Further, it will also significantly reduce the capital development costs.
The Canadian mid-cap gold mining company also said that mining and heap leaching present lower construction risks and also reduced financing risks, as it would not need external funding.
The company expects to recommence mining at the Kisladag gold mine by the end of the first quarter.
Eldorado revealed that although the mill project has been suspended, it still remains viable in the short-term. Its viability will continue to be evaluated in light of the results from current heap leach metallurgical testwork undertaken on deeper material and based on other investment opportunities within the portfolio, said the Canadian mining company.
For the current year, it is forecasting production of 145,000-165,000 ounces of gold, which includes nearly 70,000 ounces derived from ore placed previously on the leach pad.
For the next year, the gold producer expects the consolidated gold production at the Kisladag gold mine to move up to 520,000-550,000 ounces of gold owing to the ramp up in mining and heap leaching at the project this year.
However, it estimates the production at the Turkish gold mine to drop to 350,000-380,000 ounces of gold in 2021.