ELDORADO Gold has received the Project Permit Approval (PPA) for its Eastern Dragon Project in Heilongjiang Province, northeast China. The PPA is the most significant permit required as the approval process includes a review and verification of previous permits granted.
Eldorado Gold expects production to begin in the first half of 2016 at the Eastern Dragon project in northeast China.
The previous permits include the Environmental Protection Assessment, the Social Risk Management Licence, and all relevant business licences. The PPA was approved at the central government level by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
With the granting of the PPA after a lengthy process Eldorado has recommenced work at the site, initially focusing on completion and testing of the mill circuit along with the work on the power and water supplies. Earthworks were expected to commence late in the September quarter pending the timely receipt of outstanding forestry permits.
Eldorado expects Eastern Dragon to commence production in the first half of 2016.
Eastern Dragon is a high-grade gold and silver epithermal vein deposit that will be mined using a combination of open pit and underground methods. Current proven reserves stand at 837,000 tonnes grading 11.07 grams/tonne gold and 81 grams/tonne silver. Probable reserves stand at 2168 million tonnes grading 6.46 grams/tonne gold and 67 grams/tonne silver.
The ore is free-milling, with average recoveries of 95% for gold and 80% for silver. Once in full production Eldorado expects to produce approximately 70,000 ounces of gold and 570,000 of silver annually at cash costs (net of by-product credits) of $175 per ounce.
Eldorado’s chief executive officer Paul Wright says, “The PPA is the major permit approval required in development of what we consider one of the highest quality gold assets in China. This permit represents years of hard work and determination by our team in China, in combination with key support from the Canadian and Chinese governments.”
Gold production in the June quarter at the company’s three producing Chinese operations, Jinfeng, Tanjianshan and White Mountain, was lower compared to the corresponding period of 2014. At Jinfeng it was 16% lower as a result of lower tonnes milled and gold in circuit inventory changes. A decrease in tonnes milled was due to completion of open pit mining during the first quarter.
Tanjianshan was 3% lower due to slightly lower tonnes milled and average treated head grade. Gold ounces sold were lower due to weather related shipping delays, which resulted in June production of 8199 ounces being shipped after quarter end. Production at White Mountain was 11% lower due to reduced head grade.