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Guyana Goldfields optimizes underground plans, increases reserves 12% at Aurora

Guyana Goldfields Inc. completed an optimized life-of-mine plan for an expansion at its Aurora mine in Guyana, with an additional 75,000 ounces of gold production anticipated over the next three years as a result of accelerated selective underground mining.

The company said Feb. 20 that it expects Aurora to produce an average 270,000 ounces of gold per year over the next five years, with all-in sustaining costs of US$797/oz.

Open pit mining will continue through to 2030, with underground development expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2018 and initial production anticipated in 2019. Open pit mining is now expected to produce 1.7 million ounces of gold, up from 1.6 million, while underground operations are expected to produce 2.3 million ounces of gold, up from 1.7 million ounces.

The study estimated a net present value of US$898 million, using a 5% discount rate, for the optimized operation, increasing from the US$821 million defined in an early 2017 feasibility study. The 2017 figure was adjusted from the original US$850 million to reflect the 2018 start of underground operations, according to the company.

A phase-one expansion to increase throughput at the Aurora mill from 5,600 tonnes per day to 6,600 t/d is ongoing, with the second phase expected to increase throughput to 7,500 t/d.

Total CapEx is pegged at US$599 million, including US$295 million in sustaining capital. The optimized plan incorporates a gold price of US$1,200/oz. Earlier in February, the company said it planned to invest US$120 million in underground mining at Aurora.

In addition, reserves increased by 12% in terms of contained gold and compared to the previous estimate. Aurora hosts proven and probable reserves totaling 43 million tonnes grading 2.87 g/t of gold for 4 million ounces.

Reserves are included within measured and indicated resources totaling 57.2 million tonnes grading 3.27 g/t of gold for 6 million ounces, while inferred resources are estimated at 16.3 million tonnes grading 3.39 g/t of gold for 1.8 million ounces.

Guyana Goldfields also announced its guidance for 2018, with gold production of 190,000 ounces to 210,000 ounces and all-in-sustaining costs in the range of US$830/oz to US$880/oz.