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Tropicana Gold Project development approved


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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Development of the Tropicana Gold Project in Western Australia has been approved by the Boards of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd and Independence Group NL.

AngloGold Ashanti has a 70% interest in the Project, which is located 330 kilometres east-northeast of Kalgoorlie in WA, and Independence Group has 30%.

The approved project will produce 3.45 million ounces of gold over a 10 year mine life at a cash cost of A$710-A$730/oz (US$696/oz-US$715/oz*). In the first three years of operation, gold production will be between 470,000-490,000 ozpa at a cash cost of A$580/oz-A$600/oz (US$568/oz-US$588/oz*).

Capital expenditure, including pre-production operating costs, is estimated at A$690-A$740 million (Real) or A$725-A$775 million (Nominal – including escalation). At current exchange rates* this equates to US$676–US$725 million or US$711-US$760 million, respectively. The higher production rate in the first three years will contribute to accelerated payback.

Discovered in a remote, barely-explored area not previously thought prospective for gold, Tropicana is the most significant gold discovery in Australia for more than a decade. The Tropicana Joint Venture's first mover advantage has enabled it to peg the bulk of what is now recognised as a major new gold field.

Construction will begin in the June quarter of 2011 and first gold is anticipated in the December quarter of 2013.

"Tropicana is the first of AngloGold Ashanti's major gold discoveries to move into production," said CEO Mark Cutifani. "We're delighted to give the green light to its development."

"This is a clear demonstration of the impact an innovative, results-driven exploration program can have on organic growth," Cutifani said.

"It's gratifying to be developing our own projects at a time when so many majors are forced to pay huge premiums to fill their project pipelines."

The decision to commit to development follows the successful outcome of a Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) based on open cut mining of the Tropicana and Havana deposits. The BFS does not take into account possible production from the Boston Shaker or Havana Deeps deposits.

The approved project will utilise conventional drill and blast, truck and excavator open cut mining methods carried out by a mining contractor. The 5.8 million tonnes per annum capacity (fresh ore) process plant has been designed for water and energy efficiency, with the comminution circuit comprising two-stage crushing, high pressure grinding rolls and ball milling, followed by a carbon-in-leach circuit for gold recovery (see Figure 1).

The BFS was based on a Proved and Probable Reserve of 48 Mt grading 2.2 g/t for 3.4 million ounces of gold (see Table 1 in Appendices). The BFS mining inventory totalled 59 million tonnes grading 2.0 g/t for 3.8 million ounces.

Whilst the initial mine life is estimated at 10 years, the Joint Venture partners are confident this can be extended.

Step-out exploration drilling in late 2009 returned significant results from the Boston Shaker prospect, which lies approximately 360m north of Tropicana resource. Drilling to date has identified the faulted offset of Tropicana mineralisation over an 850m strike length and the mineralisation remains open at depth (see Figure 2).

An open pit scoping study based on data available to July 2010 has been completed on Boston Shaker and indicates that an expansion to the current BFS open pit resource is highly likely. Boston Shaker progressed into full feasibility study in September 2010, with completion targeted for the first half of 2011.

Significant results were also received from the Havana Deeps prospect, which represents extensions of the Havana mineralised system external to the Havana open pit.

The recently-completed Havana Deeps scoping study, based on drilling data to the end of July 2010, indicates the potential viability of underground mining at Havana Deeps (see Figure 4).

Although it is too early to determine the scale or timing of underground mining, it could commence in parallel with open pit mining, once a suitable portal position is available in the open pit. It is anticipated that Havana Deeps will progress into a pre-feasibility study in early 2011.

The potential of Havana Deeps has been highlighted by a recent deep step-out exploration drill hole, which intersected the mineralised package at 1km depth, in excess of 2.1 km down plunge of the Havana open pit design. Assay results are awaited (see Figure 5).

Work is in progress to incorporate the results of the Boston Shaker and Havana Deeps scoping studies, along with subsequent drilling results, into a revised resource estimate by year-end.

Encouraging intersections have also been returned by recent infill RC drilling at the Crouching Tiger Prospect, 250m south of the Havana South BFS pit outline, including 11m @ 5.27 g/t from 102m, 13m @ 1.47 g/t from 147m (including 7m @ 2.27g/t) and 10m @ 1.69 g/t (including 4m @ 3.24g/t). (Table 2; Figure 2)

In addition to the upside in the immediate mine area, the Joint Venture has more than 30 exploration targets within trucking distance of the mine, along with numerous anomalies on its 16,000 square kilometre tenement holding in the highly prospective Tropicana Belt (see Figure 6).

Graham Ehm, EVP Australasia, said Tropicana would add to production from the 100% owned Sunrise Dam mine to lift AngloGold Ashanti's Australian gold output to 600,000 ounces per annum by 2014.

"Tropicana will rank as the fifth largest contributor to the company's global production in its first three years and will double the operating cash surplus generated by the Australian region," Ehm said.

He said the Project would employ up to 550 people during construction, and up to 450 people during operations, as well as contributing an estimated A$836 million to the WA economy during construction and a further A$825 million during operations**.

Infrastructure will include 220 km of new road from Pinjin to the site, a sealed all-weather airstrip and development of a borefield 50 km from the mine site for water supply. The mine will operate on a fly-in, fly-out basis.

Tropicana was approved by the WA Minister for the Environment, the Hon Donna Faragher, in October. Approval by the Federal Minister for Sustainability is anticipated by the end of the year.

*The USD capex and cash costs were calculated an AUD:USD exchange rate of 0.98 (as at 5 November 2010)
**Based on an independent study by Compelling Economics.


Project Summary

 

100% Project

70%

Project Approval

November 2010

November 2010

Construction Start

January 2011

January 2011

Capital Expenditure

A$690-A$740 million (Real) or A$725-A$775 million (Nominal – including escalation).

This equates to US$676–US$725 million or US$711-US$760 million, respectively.

A$483-A$518 million (Real) or A$508-A$543 million (Nominal).

This equates to US$473-US$508 million or US$498-US$532 million respectively.

First Production

December quarter 2013

December quarter 2013

Plant Throughput

5.8 million tonnes per annum.

4.1 Mtpa

Head Grade

2.01 g/t

2.01 g/t

Gold Recovery

90.4%

90.4%

Average Annual Production - LOM

330,000 – 350,000 ozpa

231,000 – 245,000 ozpa

Average Annual Production– First 3 Years

470,000 – 490,000 ozpa

329,000 – 343,000 ozpa

Cash costs LOM

A$710/oz – A$730/oz (US$696/oz-US$715/oz*)

A$710/oz-A$730/oz (US$696/oz-US$715/oz*)

Cash costs – first 3 years

A$580/oz-A$600/oz (US$568/oz-US$588/oz*)

A$580/oz–A$600/oz (US$568/oz-US$588/oz*)

* AUD:USD 0.98 (as at 5 November 2010)


Table 1: Tropicana Gold Project October 2010 Proved and Probable Reserve Classification

Category

Tonnes (Mt)

Gold Grade (g/t)

Contained Gold (Moz)

Proved

24

2.3

1.8

Probable

24

2.1

1.6

Total

48

2.2

3.4


Proved and Probable Ore Reserves have been reported above break-even cut-off grade of 0.6 g/t for Oxide (Transported, Saprolite) and Sap-Rock (also referred to as Transition) materials and 0.7 g/t for Fresh material at a nominated gold price of US$880/oz and an exchange rate of 0.80 AUD:USD (equivalent to A$1,100/oz) as specified in the Tropicana Gold Project Feasibility Study Charter (2009).


Table 2: Crouching Tiger Drilling Results

Collar Information

 

 

 

Intercept Details

 

Hole

Easting (m)

Northing (m)

RL (m)

Dip (deg)

Azi (deg)

From

To

Width (m)

Au (g/t)

TFRC3301

649066.95

6760515.01

367

-61

319

121.00

including

122.00

173.00

including

180.00

131.00

 

126.00

182.00

 

182.00

10.0

 

4.0

9.0

 

2.0

1.69

 

3.24

1.09

 

1.86

TFRC3302

649138.92

6760439.65

370

-61

318

147.00

including

153.00

206.00

160.00

 

160.00

208.00

13.0

 

7.0

2.0

1.47

 

2.27

1.01

TFRC3303

648979.55

6760527.65

365

-60

317

91.00

including

93.00

102.00

including

102.00

109.00

98.00

 

97.00

113.00

 

106.00

111.00

7.0

 

4.0

11.0

 

4.0

2.0

1.1

 

1.36

5.27

 

1.08

25.2

TFRC3304

649086.03

6760430.89

370

-61

319

107.00

149.00

including

150.00

110.00

152.00

 

152.00

3.0

3.0

 

2.0

1.5

1.31

 

1.67

Intercept Parameters: Minimum intercept 2m @ 0.5g/t; Lower cut off grade 0.5g/t; Maximum Consecutive Waste 2m; Minimum intercept grade 1.0g/t.



Figure 1: BFS Processing Plant Layout.


Figure 2: BFS pit design with gram x metre contours and showing significant intercepts at Boston Shaker and Havana South (Crouching Tiger).


Figure 3: BFS 3D pit shells with Boston Shaker scoping study pits and Havana Deeps Target.


Figure 4: Havana Deeps Scoping Study Conceptual Underground Mine Design.


Figure 5: Havana Deeps cross section showing step-out hole.


Figure 6: Tropicana JV regional geochemical anomalies and significant drilling intercepts.


Contacts
  Tel: E-mail:
Andrea Maxey (Australia) +61 (0) 8 9425 4603/ +61 (0) 400 072 199 amaxey@anglogoldashanti.com.au
Alan Fine (Media) +27 (0) 11 637 6383 / +27 (0) 83 250 0757 afine@anglogoldashanti.com
Stewart Bailey (Investors) +1 212 836 4303 / +27 (0) 82 330 9628 / +1 646 338 4337 sbailey@anglogoldashanti.com

Disclaimer

Certain statements made in this communication, including, without limitation, those concerning the economic outlook for the gold mining industry, expectations regarding gold prices, production, cash costs and other operating results, growth prospects and outlook of AngloGold Ashanti's operations, individually or in the aggregate, including the completion and commencement of commercial operations of certain of AngloGold Ashanti's exploration and production projects, the completion of announced mergers and acquisitions transactions, AngloGold Ashanti's liquidity and capital resources, and expenditure and the outcome and consequences of any litigation proceedings or environmental issues, contain certain forward-looking statements regarding AngloGold Ashanti's operations, economic performance and financial condition. Although AngloGold Ashanti believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, no assurance can be given that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Accordingly, results could differ materially from those set out in the forward-looking statements as a result of, among other factors, changes in economic and market conditions, success of business and operating initiatives, changes in the regulatory environment and other government actions including environmental approvals and actions, fluctuations in gold prices and exchange rates, and business and operational risk management. For a discussion of certain of these factors, refer to AngloGold Ashanti's annual report for the year ended 31 December 2009, which was distributed to shareholders on 30 March 2010. The company's annual report on Form 20-F, was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States on April 19, 2010 and as amended on May 18, 2010. AngloGold Ashanti undertakes no obligation to update publicly or release any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after today's date or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. All subsequent written or oral forward-looking statements attributable to AngloGold Ashanti or any person acting on its behalf are qualified by the cautionary statements herein.

AngloGold Ashanti posts information that is important to investors on the main page of its website at www.anglogoldashanti.com and under the "Investors" tab on the main page. This information is updated regularly. Investors should visit this website to obtain important information about AngloGold Ashanti.

JORC Compliance: The information in this report that relates to Ore Reserves is based on information compiled by Marek Janas, a full time employee of AngloGold Ashanti Australia Ltd, who is a member of the AusIMM. Marek Janas has sufficient experience relative to the type and style of mineral deposit under consideration, and to the activity which has been undertaken, to qualify as a Competent Person (or Recognised Mining Professional) as defined in the 2004 Edition of the JORC Code. Marek Janas consents to the release of this reserve based on the information in the form and context in which it appears.

The information in this report that relates to Mineral Resources is based on information compiled by Mark Kent, a full-time employee of AngloGold Ashanti Australia Ltd, who is a member of the AusIMM. Mark Kent has sufficient experience relative to the type and style of mineral deposit under consideration, and to the activity which has been undertaken, to qualify as a Competent Person (or Recognised Mining Professional) as defined in the 2004 Edition of the JORC Code. Mark Kent consents to the release of this resource based on the information in the form and context in which it appears.

The information in this report that relates to Exploration Results is based on information compiled by Mark Doyle, a full-time employee of AngloGold Ashanti Australia Ltd, who is a member of the AusIMM. Mark Doyle has sufficient experience relative to the type and style of mineral deposit under consideration and to the activity that has been undertaken, to qualify as a Competent Person (or Recognised Mining Professional) as defined in the 2004 Edition of the JORC Code. Mark Doyle consents to the release of this resource based on the information in the form and context in which it appears.



 
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