Just over a week after restarting operations at its Tasiast mine, after unionised employees ended an 18-day strike at the mine, Kinross Gold has once again been forced to halt operations.
This follows 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.
As a result Kinross Gold said it “could not continue to fully operate the site in a safe and environmentally responsible manner”.
The company said that while it has taken all steps necessary to ensure that its work permits are in good standing and valid under Mauritanian law and to comply with the requisite formalities including the filing of all requests and applications in accordance with the stipulated timeframes, it would however continue discussion with the government to resolve the issue.
The company said it would also continue to increasing the number of local workers at Tasiast, which currently comprises 88% Mauritanian nationals, which is consistent with Kinross Gold’s practice at all its operations.
Kinross Gold maintains that the temporary suspension of operations is not expected to affect development of the Tasiast Phase One expansion, which began in April.
Engineering work at the Tasiast Phase One expansion is 35% complete and is expected to reach 80% by end of July 2016. A significant amount of contractual commitments and site establishment work is expected to occur during the second quarter of 2016, with full field construction expected to commence in the third quarter of 2016.
Phase One commissioning is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2017, with full production expected by the end of the first quarter of 2018.