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.
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.
2011 Operational Performance
|Key Statistics||Unit||Calendar Year 2011||Calendar Year 2010|
|Open Pit Ore Mined||'000 tonnes||6,306||6,190|
|Total Open Pit Material Mined||'000 tonnes||21,248||20,522|
|Underground Ore Mined - Development||'000 tonnes||172||-|
|Underground Ore Mines - Stopes||'000 tonnes||40||-|
|Ore Processed||'000 tonnes||3,612||3,144|
|Head Grade||grams per tonne||1.91||1.71|
|Average Sales Price||US$ per ounce||1,574||1,229|
|Cash Cost of Production||US$ per ounce||556||527|
Sukari produced 202,699 ounces of gold in 2011 - an increase of almost 35% on 2010 production
The cash cost of production for the full year was US$556 per ounce
The average realised gold price was $1,574 per ounce, creating an average cash margin of US$1,018 per ounce or 65%
Sukari is highly cash generative and delivered strong revenue and earnings in 2011
To find out more about Centamin's performance in 2011, click the link below to view the Annual Report: