Operational Overview

Operational Overview

The first gold bar was poured at the Sukari Gold Mine on 26 June 2009.

In its maiden year of production (2010), Sukari produced over 150,000 ounces at cash costs of US$527 per ounce and in 2011 it produced over 200,000 ounces at US$556 per ounce, demonstrating Centamin's potential to be a large scale, low cost producer.

Sukari has a large reserve and resource base and there is further exploration upside in Sukari hill and on the 160km2 tenement area that surrounds it. Sukari is the only operating gold mine in Egypt and we believe the country has significant mining potential.

Location and History

The 160km2 Sukari tenement area is located in the south-easterly region of the Eastern Desert of Egypt, approximately 700km from Cairo and 25km from the Red Sea.

Sukari hill is situated within the tenement area and is approximately 2,300m long, 600m wide and 1,345m above sea level at its highest point. Surrounded by wide wadis (the Arabic term for valleys) and mountain ranges, Sukari hill has hosted ancient mining communities spanning thousands of years from the Pharaohs to the Romans to the British.

The climate in the Eastern Desert is hot and dry. The annual average temperature ranges from 18C to 45C and annual rainfall is less than 10mm.

Mine Profile

Sukari is situated on the Arabian-Nubian Shield, which covers the north-east African countries of Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Saudi Arabia. The Sukari deposit is hosted by a large porphyry body, which is located on a regional shear zone providing favourable drilling conditions. There are several types of gold mineralisation found here including disseminated gold and shear-zone-related quartz vein. The name Sukari is thought to derive from the Arabic word for 'sweet' due to the quartz's resemblance to sugar.

Sukari's life-of-mine is estimated at around 18 years at present, based on its proven and probable gold reserves of 10.1 million ounces. Sukari has 13.13 million ounces of Measured and Indicated resources and 2.3 million ounces of Inferred resources. These are expected to grow further through exploration.

Site, Infrastructure and Team

Sukari consists of a large-scale open pit mine and an underground mine, which produces high grade ore (approximately 10-12g/t since production began in Q2 2011, a significant increase on the forecasted 5-10g/t). The ore is processed on site through the processing plant, which has a current capacity of 5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) and that will be expanded to 10Mtpa during the course of 2012 and H1 2013 (the Stage 4 Expansion Project), or at the dump leach facility.

The mine site is served by tarmac roads, a 35Mw power station and a 25km water pipeline from the Red Sea, which Centamin built during the construction phase of the project. Some elements of Sukari's infrastructure are being enlarged as part of the Stage 4 Expansion Project. Marsa Alam airport is 70km from Sukari and Hurghada airport is 280km.

Approximately 1,000 people work at Sukari. During our construction phase, that number was closer to 1,400. In 2012 during the construction of the Stage 4 Expansion Project our team on site is expected to grow to approximately 2,000 people and by mid-2013 when Stage 4 is up and running the number will stabilise at approximately 1,500.

2012 Operational Performance

Key StatisticsUnit Calendar Year 2012Calendar Year 2011
Open Pit Ore Mined'000 tonnes 6,3776,306
Total Open Pit Material Mined'000 tonnes 25,10821,248
 Underground Ore Mined - Development '000 tonnes 203172
 Underground Ore Mines - Stopes '000 tonnes 19040
Ore Processed'000 tonnes 4,5263,612
Head Gradegrams per tonne2.041.91
Gold Recovery%86.085.3
Gold Productionounces 262,828202,699
Gold Salesounces 254,959214,763
Average Sales PriceUS$ per ounce 1,6671,555
Cash Cost of ProductionUS$ per ounce 669556
  • Sukari produced 262,828 ounces of gold in 2012 - an increase of 30% on 2011 production

  • The cash cost of production for the full year was US$669 per ounce

  • The average realised gold price was $1,667 per ounce

  • Sukari is highly cash generative and delivered strong revenue and earnings in 2012

To find out more about Centamin's performance in 2012, click the link below to view the Annual Report:

Annual Results for the 12 month period ended 2012