Alacer Boosts Çöpler Gold Heap-leach Capacity by 14%

Expansion at the gold mine in eastern Turkey will add 7 million tons of heap-leach pad capacity at a cost of $30 million.
(Photo courtesy Alacer Gold)
Alacer Gold plans to increase the capacity of the current heap-leach pad at its Çöpler gold mine in Erzincan province, eastern Turkey, by 14% to an ultimate capacity of 56 million metric tons (mt). The total cost of the expansion is estimated at $30 million. Alacer expects to spend $25 million of the expansion cost in 2015.

Work is currently under way on a technical review to re-optimize the mine plan to take advantage of the new expanded heap leach capacity. Alacer expects to announce the results of this work toward the end of first quarter 2015. The added capacity will allow continued use of the current heapleach pad beyond 2017, the previously planned cutoff date.

Alacer CEO Rod Antal said, “The resulting increase of nearly 7 million mt of capacity to the heap-leach pad is a great result and enables the addition of highmargin oxide production. With the ultimate capacity of our existing heap-leach pad now established, we will be advancing the technical work on a second heap-leach pad located toward the west of the Çöpler mine. Over the next 12 months, we will take our conceptual plan to an engineered design, with detailed cost estimates. This will be an important step to provide us with additional oxide production options into the future.”

Çöpler is owned 80% by Alacer Gold and 20% by Lidya Madencilik (Lidya Mining). As of mid-December, Alacer was forecasting full-year 2014 Çöpler production of 160,000 to 180,000 oz of gold attributable to Alacer at all-in costs of $730 to $780/oz.

In addition to its work to optimize production of Çöpler’s oxide ores, Alacer is continuing work to develop production of the property’s sulphide ores. The company completed a definitive feasibility study of processing the sulphide ores via whole ore pressure oxidation in June 2014. The study assumed throughput for the pressure oxidation plant at a nominal 5,000 mt/d. Gold recoveries are expected to average 94% from sulphide ore. Commissioning of the sulphide project is planned for in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The Çöpler sulphide gold mineralization represents 69% of the gold ounces in the project’s measured and indicated resources, or 5.4 million oz out of a total of 7.8 million oz. The sulphide project is expected to extend Çöpler mine life to 2034.

As featured in Womp 2015 Vol 01 -