Guyana Goldfields Expanding its Aurora Gold Mine in Guyana

Guyana will increase processing capacity to 8,000 mt/d in two phases.
Guyana Gold is initiating work to increase plant processing capacity at its Aurora gold mine in northern Guyana from 5,600 metric tons per day (mt/d) to 8,000 mt/d. Annual life-of-mine gold production will increase to more than 200,000 ounces per year (oz/y) beginning in 2018, with annual gold production expected to peak at 303,000 oz in 2021.

Head grade to the mill will average 3.02 grams/mt gold over the life of the mine. Cash costs are forecast to average $612/oz, including royalties. All-in sustaining costs are forecast to average $747/oz.

The Aurora project poured its first gold in early August 2015 during the course of plant commissioning and reached commercial production on January 1, 2016. Production during 2017 is forecast at 171,000 oz.

The proposed plant expansion will be completed in two phases. Phase I will increase throughput of a blend of saprolite and hard-rock ore to 8,000 mt/d and is forecast to cost $21 million. Phase 2 will add a ball mill to the circuit to allow processing of 8,000 mt/d of hard-rock ore as softer saprolite ore is depleted. Capital cost for Phase 2 is forecast at $27 million. An expansion to the mine fleet in 2018 is expected to cost $24 million.

Mining at Aurora is currently from open pits, which have a current projected mine life of eight years. Underground mining will begin in 2024, following a two-year preproduction period.

The underground mining rate will average 5,500 mt/d at an average grade of 3.02 g/mt gold over an eight-year mine life. Vertical development will be completed by an underground contractor, and lateral development will be completed by the company. The underground development program’s budget is $129 million.

Of the total of 3.3 million oz of gold to be recovered over the life of the Aurora mine, 1.7 million oz will sourced from open-pit operations and 1.6 million oz will be sourced from underground.

“The company is moving forward on the expansion plan and has commenced engineering and long-lead-time purchases to secure prices and deliveries,” said Guyana Goldfields President and CEO Scott A. Caldwell. “Having demonstrated a successful ramp up and with operations now reaching steady-state levels, the company is in an excellent position both operationally and financially to push forward with this mill expansion to grow its annual production profile to above 200,000 oz.”

Guyana Goldfields has an ongoing exploration program that has both near-mine and more distant regional targets. Exploration success in finding saprolite ore on the near-mine targets has the potential to extend open-pit production and defer the second phase of the mill expansion.

Guyana Goldfields is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, and is focused on mine development and operation in Guyana. The Aurora mine is currently its only producing asset. The Sulphur Rose deposit, located about 23 km from the Aurora mine, has current resources totaling 566,000 oz, and the company is conducting assessment work for development as a stand-alone mine.

As featured in Womp 2017 Vol 03 -