Gold miner Centamin has announced a second consecutive year of resource and reserve growth at its tier one Sukari gold mine, in Egypt, driven by a 33% increase in underground reserves.
“Our improved geological understanding has resulted in meaningful growth of both resources and reserves at unchanged cut-off grades. The openpit mineral reserve gain replaced annual depletion for the first time since 2015, while the underground mineral reserves of 1.2-million ounces represent a threefold increase since 2020, net of mining depletion, which further supports the planned underground expansion project,” Centamin CEO Martin Horgan said on December 13.
He added that an aggressive drilling campaign was being carried out in alignment with the growth strategy across known targets within the underground and elsewhere in the concession area.
“We have added nearly two-million ounces of gross mineral reserves over the last two years, and we remain confident in delivering more growth both at Sukari and across the wider portfolio,” Horgan said.
Centamin delivered a 1.3-million-ounce increase in Sukari’s measured and indicated mineral resources to 11.11-million ounces at 1.08 g/t gold, representing a 13% increase in ounces after 12 months of mining depletion and inclusive of mineral reserves.
The company also delivered a 5% increase in Sukari’s proven and probable mineral reserves to six-million ounces at 1.1 g/t gold after 12 months of mining depletion. This included adding 800 000 oz of mineral reserves before mining depletion made up of 400 000 oz added within the openpit at an average grade of 1 g/t gold, successfully replacing reserve depletion and extending the openpit life-of-mine (LoM) to 14 years, in addition to 400 000 oz added within the underground at an average grade of 3.9 g/t gold, an 11% improvement in ounces. This further supports the plan to increase the underground mining rate to 1.5-million tonnes a year.
Centamin further identified multiple Sukari mineral resource and reserve growth opportunities.
Among these, 280 000 m of drilling has been budgeted for next year, focusing on openpit resource-to-reserve conversion at depth, underground exploration and delineation of known targets, and testing surface targets across the Sukari concession.
An updated Sukari LoM plan is expected to be announced during the first half of next year, incorporating the fully engineered Sukari underground expansion plan.
Overall, Centamin’s entire measured and indicated mineral resource base has increased by 13% to 13.6-million ounces this year, after Sukari mining depletion, an upgrade to the Doropo mineral resources in Côte d’Ivoire, and the removal of the noncore asset Batie West in Burkina Faso.