AngloGold Ashanti Lifts Outlook for Tropicana
A strategy to address a planned decline in production at Tropicana following an end to higher-grade ore production in 2015 has been successful. Throughput capacity of the processing plant has been increased from 5.8 million metric tons per year (mt/y) to 7.5 million mt/y, and a 600-mt shovel has been introduced into the mine to accelerate mining rates. Tropicana gold production is now expected to increase to a rate of between 450,000 oz/y and 490,000 oz/y from the second half of 2017. The mine produced 296,000 oz in the first nine months of 2016.
A program of 161,000 m of reverse circulation and diamond drilling carried out during 2015 and 2016 to test the strike extent and down-dip extensions of Tropicana’s known mineralized system has been highly successful, contributing to the 45% increase in ore reserves and a 27% increase in mineral resources. The Tropicana reserve estimate now stands at 3.8 million oz of contained gold, up from 2.62 million oz in December 2015. The mineral resource estimate increased to 8.02 million oz from 6.28 million oz over the same time period.
Resource drilling is continuing as part of a study that is investigating large cutbacks to the pits utilizing low-cost mining options, including strip mining and backfilling to minimize waste haulage costs. “The Tropicana mineralized system remains open along strike and at depth, and the recent exciting drilling results make us optimistic that we can further improve the outlook,” AngloGold Ashanti Senior Vice President-Australia Michael Erickson said.