The Tasiast 24k project feasibility study is based on a $1,200 per ounce gold price and will have average annual production of 563,000oz from 2022 to 2028 at an all-in sustaining cost of $560/oz, yielding a net present value of $1.7 billion and internal rate of return of 60%.
The expansion plan represents a significantly lower capital cost compared with the former $600 million plan for a 30,000tpd operation with the revision based on its operating experience from the phase one mine operating at more than the planned 14,000 tonnes per day due to the performance of the SAG mill.
The SAG mill performance means the company does not need to add a ball mill. The expansion will ramp up to 21,000tpd by the end of 2021 and onto 24,000tpd by mid-2023. It is also expected to extend the mine life by four years to 2033.
Throughput increases are expected to be achieved through minor upgrades and de-bottlenecking in the plant including modifications to the grinding circuit, adding new leaching and thickening capacity, as well as incremental additions to onsite power generation and water supply.
"The project allows us to further unlock Tasiast's substantial value through a capital efficient, low-risk investment which maximises the mine's potential through continuous improvement and leverages the knowledge we have gained from running the successful Tasiast Phase One expansion. The 24k project is expected to increase production and lower costs while generating attractive returns and significant free cash flow," said president and CEO Paul Rollinson.
Kinross is advancing on a $300 million project financing from the International Finance Corporation, Export Development Canada and two commercial banks.
The company has also engaged with the new government of Mauritania following the presidential inauguration in August with Rollinson recently meeting with newly-elected president Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani and other key members of government. It has also signed an agreement in principle on the main terms and conditions of a new three-year collective labour agreement with unionised employees at Tasiast, which is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks and replace the current labour agreement which set to expire in November.
The December 2018 estimated proven and probable mineral reserves at Tasiast are about 7.2 million ounces grading 1.9 grams per tonne. Estimated measured and indicated mineral resources are 2.7Moz.
Shares in Kinross Gold are trading at C$6.45, valuing the company at $8.1 billion.