Ice Movement Limiting Kumtor Production

Problems with ice movement in the pit will curtail this year’s gold production at Centerra Gold’s Kumtor mine by an
estimated 185,000 to 215,000 oz, according to the company. (Photo courtesy Centerra Gold)
Centerra Gold announced in late March 2012 that increased ice movement in the southeast section of its Kumtor open-pit mine in the Kyrgyz Republic will delay scheduled access to the high-grade SB zone of the pit. Preliminary engineering analysis indicates Kumtor gold produc-tion during 2012 will fall to between 390,000 to 410,000 oz of gold, rather than the 575,000 to 625,000 oz previ-ously forecast, the company said.

Production at Kumtor is dependent on successfully maintaining the mining rates of the waste and ice in the south-east section of the pit to gain access to the higher-grade ore in the SB zone. “A recent substantial acceleration of ice and waste movement, which was exacer-bated by the 10-day labor disruption that occurred in early February 2012, now requires that cutback 14A be delayed to allow for the unloading of such ice and waste in the southeast sec-tion of the pit. This is expected to delay the cutback from late 2012 to late 2013, resulting in the deferral into 2013-2015 of production from the high-grade SB zone otherwise expected in 2012,” Centerra said.

Centerra expects to partially miti-gate the impact of the ice movement and the resulting delay in cutback 14A by accelerating mining in the south-west portion of the pit to access part of recently reported new reserves to provide higher-grade ore for the Kum-tor mill. The company is undertaking further technical analysis of the im-pact of the ice movement on its life-of-mine plan and expects to provide further information on production, capital costs, and operating costs in due course.

Centerra also reported that Kumtor’s collective bargaining agree-ment expires at the end of 2012. “A work stoppage at any time during the year could have a significant impact on Kumtor achieving its revised fore-cast production. Additionally, achiev-ing the revised 2012 production is dependent on the delivery of new min-ing equipment on schedule and suc-cessfully maintaining the mining rates of the waste and ice in the southern portion of the pit to gain access to the higher-grade ore,” the company announcement said.

As featured in Womp 2012 Vol 05 -