CENTERRA Gold will begin a three year construction program to raise the tailings dam at the Kumtor Gold Project in the Kyrgyz Republic to the 3674 metre elevation after receiving the relevant permits from Kyrgyz authorities. The project will provide adequate tailings storage capacity for mill tailings deposition from 2021 until the end of 2024.
The tailings dam construction this year is the first such construction required to contain the additional 3.6 million ounces of gold reserves that resulted from the KS-13 pit expansion.
It is estimated that in 2017 the company will invest approximately $11 million of the total estimated investment of $32 million.
The tailings dam approval process at Kumtor requires the mine to permit each of the 3 metre tailings dam raises. After the initial raise is completed in 2020, the mine would then submit a design to raise the dam to the final elevation of 3677.5 starting in 2021.
The company expects that it would apply for and receive, in the ordinary course, the necessary approvals and permits for the final tailings dam raise.
Mining activities at Kumtor in the fourth quarter of 2016 focused on waste stripping of cut-back 18 in accordance to the mine development plan, while the mill primarily processed ore from stockpiles. Mining of cut-back 17 was completed in early-October 2016.
Gold production for the quarter was 200,762 ounces compared to 130,610 ounces in the comparative quarter of 2015 due to 38% higher average mill head grade and a 5% higher recovery rate, as a result of mining and processing the high-grade ore from cut-back 17.
Kumtor’s mill processed approximately 1.6 million tonnes for the fourth quarter, 5% higher than the comparative quarter of 2015, as a result of actions taken to increase the throughput including blending harder and softer ore, opening screens in the SAG mill and increasing the grinding media sizes in the SAG and ball mills.
This year Kumtor will continue to process ore stockpiled from cut-back 17, while mining focuses on waste stripping from cut-back 18, and mining the recently permitted near-surface Sarytor satellite deposit.