Located in the Eastern Desert of Egypt, Centamin Egypt Limited’s Sukari gold project – poised to launch production in 2008 – has recorded another substantial JORC compliant resource upgrade in the second quarter of the year.

The resource now stands at 9.79 million ounces of gold – a 19% increase of 1.53 million ounces this year. The Sukari global resource – independently calculated by Hellman & Schofield – is estimated at 194.42Mt @ 1.44g/t Au for the 9.01Moz Au, at a 0.5g/t Au cut-off grade. This includes 58.7 Mt inferred, 83.6Mt indicated and 52.1Mt measured.

As far as finance is concerned, Centamin has placed 175 million new shares to raise US$151 million (almost R1.1 billion). These equity funds will be applied to the Sukari development, and represent the full equity component of the capital required to take the project into production.

Barclays Capital – the investment banking division of Barclays Bank Plc – was appointed as mandated lead arranger to finance up to US$100 million (more than R700 million) for the project.

Meanwhile work on the various aspects of the project – the first large-scale modern gold mine to be developed in Egypt – is moving ahead on schedule, and barring any unforeseen circumstances, there will be no problem in meeting the production target date of Q3 in 2008.

The earthworks for a 700 man accommodation facility are estimated to be 95% complete, construction is underway, upgrading of the 10km access road to the Sukari site is 40% complete, and earthworks have been done for the lay-down area for the mining fleet.

The design and construction supervision of the tailings storage facility is underway, engineering and design work for the process plant is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2007. An Egyptian company has been engaged to detail design and engineer the construction camp, kitchen-mess, desalination plant and sewerage treatment plant, and the layout for the mine maintenance workshop has been finalised and issued for design.

The Kori Kollo process plant – purchased second-hand from Newmont in Bolivia for US$6 million (R42 million) – is being dismantled and shipped to Egypt, and is due to arrive imminently.

The Sukari project will mine and process 4Mpta, producing an average 200 000 ounces per annum over 15 years of mining. Total capital construction costs are estimated at US$216 million (more than R1.5 billion) with average cash operating costs of US$290/oz (inclusive of 3% royalty) over the 15 year mining period.

During that 15-year life of mine, 78 Mt ore @1.5 g/t Au is expected to be mined, producing 3.7 Moz of gold. A further 374Mt of waste material is also expected to be mined.