The remainder of the sulphide circuit, including the acidulation, pressure oxidation and counter current decantation will be started once plant commissioning is complete and the oxide circuit is fully operational and stabilised, the company reports.
The Çöpler mine has been operating since 2010, processing oxide ore via a heap leach operation. However, the oxide ore is progressively being exhausted and the mine will start processing sulphide ore later this quarter using pressure oxidation.
The mine produced 168,163oz of gold in 2017 at all-in sustaining costs (AISC) of US$685/oz. In 2018, Çöpler is forecast to produce 70,000-90,000oz of oxide ore and 50,000-100,000oz of sulphide ore at all-in sustaining costs of US$750-$800/oz for the oxides only. The company will issue sulphide cost guidance once the plant has been declared in commercial production.
Çöpler is the cornerstone of Alacer's organic growth strategy. The company is making progress on multiple fronts, including permitting and site clearing underway at its Çakmaktepe project, exploration activities are defining a mineral resource at the Ardich prospect, and a definitive feasibility study is making progress at the Gediktepe project, all in Turkey.
Alacer has a market valuation of about C$685 million, and the equity has been able to withstand (barely) the gradual 13% softening of the gold price over the past 12 months. The Toronto-quoted stock closed 1.27% lower on Tuesday at C$2.33 a share, down from its July 12-month high of C$2.97 a share, on the back of strong first-half operating and financial results.