Kinross Gold temporarily suspended operations at the mine on 24 May for 18-days when unionised employees initiated strike action.
The company again temporarily halted operations at the end of June following the Mauritanian Ministry of Labour’s decision on 17 June 2016 to prohibit certain expatriate employees from working at site due to allegations of invalid work permits.
Since then, Kinross noted that it has resolved the expatriate work permit issue with the Government of Mauritania as part of reaching a mutually acceptable “Mauritanization” plan to increase the number of local workers who have the necessary skills and experience to work at Tasiast, a requirement under Mauritanian law.
Moreover, labour negotiations respecting the company’s collective labour agreement at Tasiast are expected to recommence in the next two weeks.
As a result of the suspensions, production at Tasiast was lower quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year. This has resultantly delayed Phase One expansion’s expected timing for commercial production to the second quarter of 2018.
The Tasiast Phase One expansion project is expected to increase mill throughput capacity from the current 8 000 tpd to 12 000 tpd, while significantly reducing Tasiast’s operating costs and increasing production.
The additional processing capacity is expected to be achieved with the addition of a gyratory crusher, an oversized semi-autogenous grinding mill and three leach tanks, as well as improvements to other components of the processing circuit.
The new mill is forecast to produce an average of approximately 409 000 ozpa of gold during the first 10 years (2018-2027, when mining will occur), with a forecast cumulative production of 5 Moz of gold to 2033. Milling of residual stockpiled ore will extend the estimated mine life to 2033.
Phase One construction is expected to cost $300 million, plus estimated capital stripping of $428 million (2016-2019).