Eldorado Elects to Resume Heap Leaching at Kisladag

Eldorado Gold announced in late January that it will resume mining, crushing, stacking, and heap leaching at its Kisladag gold mine in western Turkey. Work on a previously announced mill project has been suspended. In October 2017, Eldorado reported that laboratory test work indicated that lower recoveries were expected from the zone of mineralization around the base of the Kisladag open pit. Subsequently, the company suspended mining in the pit in the first quarter of 2018.

Following a year of engineering and test work, Eldorado announced in October 2018 it would proceed with the mill project. Following that announcement, gold recovery from the leach pad increasingly exceeded expectations, and the company then focused test work and analysis on the viability of resuming mining and heap leaching. Test work to extract maximum value from material already placed on the heapleach pad and the remaining reserves was ongoing throughout 2018. Approximately 900,000 mt of ore were placed on an inter- lift lined test pad in the first quarter of 2018. Later in the year, results from this pad were showing recoveries of approximately 58% from an extended leach cycle approaching 250 days, compared to approximately 40% recoveries from the original 90-day column tests.

In early 2019, the company analyzed the new data and developed revised heap leaching plans, showing improved economics for the heap leaching scenario. As a result, it decided to resume mining and heap leaching. Benefits from the decision are expected to include improved economics when compared to the mill project, with increased production and free cash flow over the next three years and a significant reduction in capital development costs. Construction and financing risks will be lower, as mining and heap leaching will not require external funding.

Mining for heap leaching will restart by the end of the first quarter of 2019. Current guidance is based on mining and stacking an initial 22 million mt of ore grading more than 1.1 g/mt gold during the next three years, as well as continuing to leach material currently on the pad.

As featured in Womp 2019 Vol 03 - www.womp-int.com