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Centerra Gold announces Suspension of Operations at Mount Milligan Mine

Mining News - Published on Tue, 02 Jan 2018

Image Source: Wikimedia
Royal Gold, Inc reports that Centerra Gold announced that, due to a lack of sufficient water resources, mill processing operations at the Mount Milligan mine in British Columbia, Canada have been temporarily suspended. Centerra reports that there will be adequate fresh water available to restart mill processing operations at partial capacity by the end of January 2018 and at full capacity after the spring melt, typically in April.

Calendar year-to-date Centerra reports that Mount Milligan has produced approximately 225,000 ounces of payable gold and approximately 54 million pounds of payable copper, slightly below full year guidance. Royal Gold has a streaming interest on 35% of the gold and 18.75% of the copper from Mount Milligan. Due to the timing of shipments and deliveries of gold and copper, the impact of this shutdown is likely to be reflected in Royal Gold's mid-calendar 2018 results.

Centerra reports that the water shortage at Mount Milligan has been exacerbated by unanticipated extremely cold temperatures, which has resulted in a greater than expected loss of water volumes in the tailings storage facility due to ice formation. In the fourth quarter of calendar 2017, Centerra noted that it sought to mitigate the water shortfall by drilling additional water wells to draw water from nearby aquifers located on the property. While such wells were partially successful, Centerra reports that the additional water obtained was not sufficient to offset the loss of water volumes noted above. In addition, as a further, longer-term mitigation measure, Centerra is pursuing an amendment to Mount Milligan's Environmental Assessment to allow pumping of water from a nearby lake and is applying for the additional related permits. Centerra expects that by the end of January 2018 there will be adequate fresh water available to restart mill processing operations utilizing just one of the mine's two ball mills (38,000 tonnes per day to minimize water requirements), returning to full capacity of two ball mills following the spring melt.

However, as Centerra noted, the availability of water is subject to, among other things, natural forces that can be unpredictable. During this downtime, Centerra announced that mill maintenance crews will continue to carry out outstanding preventative maintenance activities and will look to bring forward other maintenance work that had been planned for later in the year. Centerra reports that Mount Milligan continues to operate according to its mine plan and will continue to expose, mine and stockpile additional ores for future processing.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Tue, 02 Jan 2018
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