Eldorado Gold’s three Chinese operations have contributed to another strong year of production for the Canadian-based global miner. For the third year in succession all of Eldorado’s operating mines met or exceeded original production and cost guidance during 2015.
Overall production totalled 723,532 ounces, which exceeded the 2015 guidance of 640,000 to 700,000 ounces. All-in sustaining costs averaged $841 per ounce while cash operating costs averaged $552 per ounce, which was lower than the original 2015 guidance of $570-615 per ounce.
The Jinfeng operation produced 149,700 ounces of gold at cash costs of $587 per ounce, better than the original guidance of 135,000-145,000 ounces at $660-700 per ounce.
In 2016 Jinfeng is expected to process 930,000 tonnes of ore at a grade of 3.89 grams/tonne (g/t) gold. The ore will be strictly sourced from the underground operations and a small amount of stockpile, as the open pit operations were successfully completed in April 2015.
As underground development opens additional working faces, underground ore mining will increase to an eventual target of 1.2 million tonnes of ore per year, bringing production back above 130,000 ounces of gold per year.
Sustaining capital costs for 2016 are estimated at $15 million. Major capital items include underground development to increase mine capacity for the processing of 1.2 million tonnes of ore by 2018 and the facilities required for the expanded underground work.
At Tanjianshan in 2015, Eldorado met all original targets with 97,600 ounces produced at an average cash cost of $473 per ounce. For 2016, the company expects to process 1.1 million tonnes of ore at a grade of 2.39 g/t. The drop in grade from 3.14 g/t in 2015 is related to limited material being mined from the JLG pit with the
remaining material being sourced from existing stockpiles.
Sustaining capital spending is budgeted at $5 million in 2016. Planned 2017 production throughput and grade will vary depending on continued exploration success at Qinlongtan throughout 2016.
During 2015, White Mountain produced 78,200 ounces at $652 in-line with original guidance of 70,000-75,000 ounces at cash costs between $650-690 per ounce. For 2016 the company expects to process 850,000 tonnes of ore at a grade of 3.24 g/t to produce 75,000-85,000 ounces at cash costs between $625-675 per ounce.
Sustaining capital costs will be approximately $15 million in 2016. This includes underground mine development and tailings dam extension. Production in 2017 is expected to increase as total tonnage increases to 950,000 tonnes at a similar grade.
Meanwhile, at the Eastern Dragon development project Eldorado plans to spend approximately $35 million in development capital over the summer months of 2016 to complete the construction of the waste dump, tailings facility and pre-stripping works.
The conversion of the exploration licence to a mining licence is under way and post-receipt, the company expects to receive final forestry permits late in the second quarter. Initial 2016 production is scheduled for the second half of the year, and Eldorado expects to produce between 10,000-20,000 ounces.
Eldorado’s overall 2016 forecast gold production is estimated to be 565,000-630,000 ounces at an average cash cost ranging between $585-620 per ounce and an all-in sustaining cash cost between $940-980 per ounce.
The company’s president and CEO Paul Wright said, “Our teams continue to operate safely and to the highest of international safety standards, as evidenced by a 30% improvement in accident rates across our global operations. We are continuing to partner with all of our local communities and invest in their long-term growth.
“Looking at Eldorado’s long-term plan, the company remains committed to its portfolio of Greek assets and the realizable benefits to all of the stakeholders involved. Our operations in Turkey and China remain on track and on budget to continue operating for years to come. Finally, we will continue to slowly advance our development projects in Brazil and Romania, while remaining financially prudent in today’s challenging metal price environment.”