Tropicana Pours First Gold Ahead of Schedule
AngloGold Ashanti is 70% owner and project manager at Tropicana. Independence Group NL owns the remaining 30%. Capital expenditure for the project totaled between A$820 million and A$845 million.
Tropicana has a current estimated mine life of more than 10 years. Average annual production over the life of the operation is forecast at 330,000 to 350,000 oz/y at an average cash cost of A$710 to A$730/oz. In its first three years of operation, the mine will produce between 470,000 and 490,000 oz/y at cash costs of between A$590 and A$630/oz.
Viewed as the most significant Australian gold discovery of the past decade, Tropicana was discovered in 2005 after AngloGold Ashanti Australia followed up on an unexplained gold-in-soil anomaly Independence Group had recognized in public-domain regional data collected in the 1990s. AngloGold Ashanti subsequently discovered the Havana and Boston Shaker deposits, which, with the Tropicana deposit, define a northeast-trending mineralized corridor spanning a width of 1.2 km and a length of 5 km.
Tropicana now has total mineral resources of 118 million mt grading 2.08 g/mt, for 7.89 million contained oz, and an ore reserve of 57.1 million mt grading 2.12 g/mt, for 3.90 million contained oz.
The joint venture has approximately 10,500 km2 of tenements in the district.
Construction of the 5.8-million-mt/y Tropicana processing plant began in late 2011, after completion of a new 220-km road from Pinjin to the site.
Open-pit mining of the Havana starter pit began in July 2012. Currently planned operations are based on open-pit mining of the Tropicana, Havana, and Boston Shaker deposits. A pre-feasibility study considering the trade-off between open-pit and underground mining of the Havana Deeps orebody is due for completion at year-end 2013.