Centerra estimates that the Kumtor Gold Project will produce between 550,000 and 600,000 ounces in 2014 and, similar to 2013, more than 50% of this production is expected during the fourth quarter when mining will reach the high-grade section of the SB Zone.
The 2014 production guidance range is lower than that outlined in the life of mine plan set out in the Kumtor technical report filed on December 20, 2012 as a result of a lower 2014 starting ore stockpile inventory and a reduction in the rate of vertical advancement of cutback 16, which provides access to the high grade SB zone ore in 2014.
The 2014 guidance compares to the 600,402 ounces produced from Kumtor during 2013. Total Centerra production in 2013 was 690,720 ounces with the 90,318 ounces coming from the Boroo mine in Mongolia. During the fourth quarter of 2013, consolidated gold production was 362,234 ounces, including 348,130 ounces of gold produced at Kumtor mine and 14,104 ounces at Boroo.
Centerra’s president and CEO Ian Atkinson says, “We are very pleased to report that both operations exceeded the company’s 2013 production guidance. At Kumtor, in the fourth quarter the mine produced 348,130 ounces as we accessed and mined the high-grade SB Zone. The Boroo operation continued to perform well in the fourth quarter, exceeding our production guidance for the year by 5000 ounces due primarily to higher than expected recoveries and head grade.
“For 2014 we are estimating gold production to be in the range of 595,000 to 645,000 ounces. We have not included any production from Gatsuurt in our production guidance for 2014 due to the associated uncertainty of approval and commissioning of the Mongolian project.
“Centerra’s projected consolidated all-in sustaining cost per ounce sold for 2014 is within a range of $875 to $950 and consolidated all-in cost per ounce sold is $989 to $1074. This demonstrates the company’s good margins at the current gold price and leverage to increases in the gold price.”
The forecast annual production at Boroo includes about 20,000 ounces from heap leaching and 25,000 ounces from the mill. The Boroo mill is expected to process ore stockpiles during the year with an average grade of 0.70 grams/tonne gold.
Planned exploration expenditures for 2014 total about $20 million, which is $10 million lower than the 2013 forecast of $30 million. No expenditures are planned for exploration at Kumtor which accounts for most of the reduction in the planned exploration costs.
In Mongolia, about $6 million is planned for exploration programs in the greater ATO district. In Turkey, approximately $3.5 million is allocated for further exploration work on the Oksut property and $2.5 million to test exploration targets elsewhere in the region. Exploration spending for Russia is planned at about $3 million and includes funds to complete the assessment of targets on the Dvoinoy and Umlekan joint ventures.
The 2014 exploration plan also includes $3 million to fund programs of generative exploration and advanced-project evaluations in Turkey, the Caucasus, Russia, Asia and western Canada. These programs will fund efforts to identify, evaluate and acquire drill-ready through resource-development gold projects in high-ranking geologic terrains.