Following a strike notice earlier this month, unionised employees at Canadian gold miner Kinross Gold's Tasiast mine in Mauritania initiated strike action.

Kinross Gold said in a statement on Tuesday that it remains open to re-commencing negotiations on a new collective agreement and to resolve other outstanding items with union representatives.

Kinross Gold does not expect the strike to affect development of the Tasiast Phase One expansion, which began in April.

Phase One 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).

Engineering work 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.