Operations

Çöpler Panoramic

The Çöpler Gold Mine is operated by Alacer Gold and is currently an open-pit, heap-leach operation that is producing gold from oxide ore.  The Çöpler orebody also contains refractory sulfide ore that requires a different processing solution than heap-leaching to extract the gold. In June 2014 a Definitive Feasibility Study was completed and determined that the treatment of the sulfide ore via pressure oxidation provided the best economic return. In May 2016 construction commenced on the Çöpler Sulfide Expansion Project and first gold pour is expected in the third quarter of 2018, providing the next stage of growth for Alacer.

Çöpler Gold Mine (100% Basis)
 2017 Guidance
Ore Treated
6.0 (Tonnes)
Oxide Ore Grade
1.15 (G/T)
Gold Produced
160,000-180,000 (OZ)
Total Cash Costs
500-550 (US$/OZ)
All-In Sustaining Costs
700-750 (US$/OZ)
For more information, please see Alacer press release dated January 17, 2017.

Geology

Çöpler is an epithermal gold-silver-copper deposit, centered on a composite diorite to monzonite porphyry stock that has intruded into the surrounding metasediments and limestone-marbles. Crossing these units are two main parallel east-northeast striking faults with smaller northeast/northwest striking faults between them, providing a permissive environment for the hydrothermal mineralization.

Several NI43-101 Technical Reports on the Çöpler Gold Mine are available at www.sedar.com and the Technical Reports section of this website.

Mining

Open-pit mining at Çöpler is a typical drill, blast, load haul operation which is undertaken by a Turkish contractor, Çiftay İnşaat Taahhüt Tic AŞ.

Mining of the Manganese Pit commenced during 2010 and mining of the Marble and Main Pits commenced during 2012. The Manganese Pit has provided the majority of ore to date, however the majority of ore is planned to be sourced from the Main Pit from the second half of 2014.

These three pits are currently optimized on mining oxide ore only and may ultimately become one large open pit when sulfide ore is included in the pit optimizations.

Processing

Processing of oxide ore commenced in 2011 with a three-stage crushing circuit nominally rated at 15,500 tonnes per day. In late 2013 a parallel clay handling circuit was commissioned to enable processing of higher clay material. The Çöpler plant now has the capacity to process approximately 17,000 tonnes per day of oxide ore.

The product from both of these circuits is conveyed to agglomeration and then delivered to the heap-leach pad via a series of portable conveyors for stacking and leaching. The heap leach pad is underlain by an impermeable plastic liner on top of a layer of compacted clay.

To extract the gold from the ore, a low-concentration cyanide solution is applied to the agglomerated ore on the leach pad using a low-pressure irrigation drip system. The heap-leach pad is planned to have 8 lifts each approximately 8 metres high.

The resulting gold-bearing solution is gravity fed to the carbon-in-column circuit, where gold is recovered from the solution. The barren solution is then recirculated to the heap with added cyanide. Dore bars are produced on site and transferred to third-party refineries for final recovery of gold and minor amounts of silver.

Over the life of the current heap-leach project, approximately 76% of the gold contained in the oxide ore is expected to be recovered.

Çöpler Gold Mine
(100% Basis)

 
2012
Actual

2013
Actual

2014
Actual

2015
Actual

2016
Actual

Ore Treated
(Tonnes)
7,077,727
6,697,209
6,433,514
6,030,514
4,739,368
Head Grade
(G/T)
1.65
1.59
1.68
1.23
1.10
Gold Produced
(OZ)
188,756
271,063
227,927
204,665
119,036
Cash Operating Costs
(US$/OZ)
335
414
501
469
716
Total Cash Costs
(US$/OZ)
375
429
524
482
738
All-In Sustaining Costs
(US$/OZ)
N/A 820 694 690 966

Construction of a Sulfidization, Acidification, Recycle and Thickening (“SART”) plant was completed in late 2013. The SART process removes soluble copper from the pregnant solution and thereby reduces the consumption of cyanide and maintains gold recovery levels. As increasing amounts of ore are mined from Çöpler’s Main Pit, increasing copper levels in the pregnant solution are expected to require the SART plant to be utilized and a saleable copper product will be produced.