Engineering & Mining Journal

JUN 2013

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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REGIONAL NEWS - ASIA Centerra Dealing with Waste-rock Dump Movement at Kumtor 2012. The increase was mainly due to processing of higher-grade ore that was mined and stockpiled during the fourth quarter of 2012. Full-year 2012 production totaled 315,238 oz. Tethyan Withdraws from Reko Diq Project Centerra Gold has been forced to relocate some mine infrastructure elements at the troubled Kumtor gold operation in the Kyrgyz Republic due to accelerated ground movement in the mine's waste dump area. Centerra Gold reported in early May that a large section of the principal wasterock dump at its Kumtor gold mine in the Kyrgyz Republic was experiencing a greater-than-anticipated rate of movement, requiring acceleration of planned relocation of some mine infrastructure. Employees in the affected buildings were moved to temporary work locations until new facilities are constructed. Kumtor operations are located in the Tien Shan mountains 350 km southeast of the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek at mining elevations ranging up to 4,400 m. Local valleys are occupied by active glaciers that extend down to elevations of 3,800 to 3,900 m. The movement of the waste-rock dump has been ongoing for some time and is described in a Kumtor technical report dated December 20, 2012, and in the life-of-mine plan. As indicated in the report, the waste-rock dump movement requires the relocation of certain mine infrastructure, including workshops, administrative facilities and electrical substations. Centerra has expedited the 36 E&MJ • JUNE 2013 relocation of the infrastructure to ensure continued safe operations, and planned gold production to date has not been affected. As a result of the increase in dump movement, Centerra has discontinued deposition of waste-rock on the affected portion of the dump. In the short-term, the company is placing waste-rock on permitted sites currently unaffected by the movement. An alternative, long-term waste-rock dumping plan is being finalized. Centerra is working with Kyrgyz regulatory authorities and external engineering advisers to expedite approval of such a plan. Based on discussions with the authorities, the company believes such approvals are likely but said it cannot provide assurances that such will be the case. The Kyrgyz government has established a special commission to visit the Kumtor mine site and inspect the wasterock dump movement. Centerra is cooperating with the commission. The Kumtor mine produced 89,618 oz of gold in the first quarter of 2013, up from 60,707 oz in the first quarter of Tethyan Copper Co., a joint venture of Antofagasta plc and Barrick, announced on May 8 that it has withdrawn its request for specific performance in the international arbitrations it has brought against the governments of Pakistan and the province of Balochistan in Pakistan. As a result, Tethyan will no longer seek the grant of a mining lease for its Reko Diq copper-gold project in the Chagai district of northwest Balochistan and instead will seek solely monetary damages as compensation for Pakistan's and Balochistan's breaches of Tethyan's contract and treaty rights. The government of Balochistan province rejected Tethyan's application for a mining lease for the Reko Diq project in November 2011. Tethyan had submitted the application in February 2011, following submission of the project feasibility study in August 2010. On November 29, 2011, Tethyan filed for international arbitration to protect its legal rights at its Reko Diq. Antofagasta acquired Tethyan Copper and formed its joint venture with Barrick in April 2006. The companies invested more than $220 million in the project prior to the denial of the mining license in November 2011. The Reko Diq deposit is a large, lowgrade copper porphyry. The economically mineable portion of the deposit has been calculated at 2.2 billion mt, averaging 0.53% copper and 0.30 g/mt gold. Annual production was estimated at 200,000 mt of copper and 250,000 oz of gold contained in 600,000 mt of concentrate over a 56-year mine life. Mining would have been from an open pit at a rate of 110,000 mt/d of ore (293,000 mt/d combined ore and waste). Capital investment to develop the project was estimated at $3.3 billion, including infrastructure. www.e-mj.com

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