Newmont Mining Adds Profitable Gold Production through Expansion of Ahafo in Ghana
DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE: NEM) (Newmont or the Company) announced plans to extend profitable production at its Ahafo operations by building a new underground mine and expanding plant capacity by more than 50 percent. The Subika Underground mine is expected to produce 1.8 million ounces of gold over an 11-year mine life, and features ore grades of 4.7 grams per tonne. The mill expansion is expected to improve margins and support profitable production at Ahafo through at least 2029.
“We are building on strong performance and solid infrastructure by investing in the next generation of profitable production at Ahafo,” said Gary Goldberg, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The Subika Underground mine will also create a platform to support even longer-term growth. Recent exploration results demonstrate considerable upside within the Subika deposit and adjacent Apensu Deeps deposit.”
The projects have been optimized to improve internal rates of return to more than 20 percent at a $1,200 gold price. In the first five full years of production – or from 2020 through 2024 – they are forecast to add incremental gold production of between 200,000 and 300,000 ounces per year at Ahafo for total average annual production of 550,000 to 650,000 ounces. The projects are also expected to lower unit costs during the same time frame. Costs applicable to sales (CAS) are expected to decrease by between $150 and $250 per ounce compared to 2016 for total average CAS of $650 to $750 per ounce. All-in sustaining costs (AISC) are expected to decrease by between $250 and $350 per ounce compared to 2016 for total average AISC of $800 to $900 per ounce.i
Newmont received its environmental permit to build and operate the Subika Underground mine in March 2017. The resource has been studied for 11 years and execution and technical risks are well understood. The Company expects to reach first production at the mine in the second half of 2017 and commercial production in the second half of 2018.
The Ahafo Mill Expansion will increase annual mill capacity by 50 percent to nearly 10 million tonnes by adding a crusher, grinding mill and leach tanks to the circuit. The expansion supports more efficient processing of harder, lower grade ore from existing surface mines, as well as Ahafo’s stockpiles and the Subika Underground mine. Newmont expects first gold production at the mill expansion in the first half of 2019 and commercial production in the second half of 2019.
Development capital of between $300 million and $380 million will be funded through free cash flow and available cash balances. Newmont will uphold local hiring and procurement commitments and existing bargaining agreements through construction and operation.
Newmont has one of the strongest project pipelines in the gold sector. Last year, the Company built its Merian operation in Suriname on time and $150 below budget, and completed the first phase of its Long Canyon mine two months ahead of schedule and $50 million below budget.
Commercial production at Ahafo began in 2006 and the operation achieved five million ounces of gold production in October 2016. Three surface mines – Subika, Awonsu, Amoma – feed a conventional mill with a carbon-in-leach circuit. A fourth surface mine, Apensu, is currently being used for water storage.
Newmont is a leading gold and copper producer. The Company’s operations are primarily in the United States, Australia, Ghana, Peru and Suriname. Newmont is the only gold producer listed in the S&P 500 Index and was named the mining industry leader by the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index in 2015 and 2016. The Company is an industry leader in value creation, supported by its leading technical, environmental, social and safety performance. Newmont was founded in 1921 and has been publicly traded since 1925.
i All-in sustaining costs or AISC is a non-GAAP metric defined as the sum of costs applicable to sales (including all direct and indirect costs related to current gold production incurred to execute on the current mine plan), remediation costs (including operating accretion and amortization of asset retirement costs), G&A, exploration expense, advanced projects and R&D, treatment and refining costs, other expense, net of one-time adjustments and sustaining capital. A reconciliation has not been provided for future looking AISC outlook in reliance on Item 10(e)(1)(i)(B) of Regulation S-K. See the Company’s Form 10-K, filed on February 21, 2017, with the U.S. SEC under the heading Non-GAAP Financial Measures beginning on page 82 thereof for a reconciliation of historical 2016 all-in sustaining costs to costs applicable to sales.