Yamana Gold Inc. has received the permit at its Jacobina mine to increase throughput to 10 000 tpd. Throughput is expected to reach 8500 tpd by 2Q22. At this processing rate, production at Jacobina will increase through 2H22 with a full year at a production level of 230 000 oz/yr beginning in 2023.
The company is also reporting particularly strong operating performance from El Peñón and Cerro Moro, both of which were planned to have higher production in the last several months of the year as they sequenced into higher grade zones, all of which supports the company’s previous guidance that 4Q21 production will exceed 270 000 gold equivalent ounces (GEO) and annual production will exceed overall 2021 guidance of 1 million GEO. 4Q21 all-in sustaining costs (AISC) are also expected to be the lowest of the year, and are estimated to be approximately US$980/GEO or lower, which is 7% below AISC reported for the prior three quarters.
Jacobina: Permit received, Phase 2 ramp up commencing
Jacobina received the permit on 2 December 2021, allowing for throughput to increase to 10 000 tpd. The successful result is the culmination of a two-year process in which the company has worked closely with government agencies to ensure that Jacobina continues to operate in a responsible, sustainable way to the benefit of all stakeholders. The company has strategically elected to operate in the Americas in rules based jurisdictions with a mining pedigree providing certainty for conducting its operations which has been exemplified with the Brazilian permitting process for Jacobina. Receipt of the permit not only marks a significant milestone in the Phase 2 ramp up to 230 000 oz/yr of gold, but also facilitates the future Phase 3 expansion to bring production up to 270 000 oz/yr.
With the accelerated permitting and 2021 outperformance, the mine is now expected to achieve the Phase 2 throughput objective of 8500 tpd by 2Q22, approximately one year earlier than planned. Since May 2021, throughput has been stable at the previously permitted rate of 7500 tpd and is well positioned to immediately start ramping up to 8500 tpd. For the past six months, Jacobina has continued with incremental improvements to increase mining and processing capacity in anticipation of receiving the expansion permit. As such, the company intends to progressively increase throughput over the next 6 – 7 months.
The ramp up to 8500 tpd will be achieved through a continuation of incremental improvements to de-bottleneck the processing plant. Optimisation of the crushing circuit which did not require the installation of new equipment is already complete. During 1H22, several additional initiatives are expected to be complete including optimising the grinding process with the installation of ultrasonic density metres to optimise ore feed control to the mills and increasing the capacity of the electro-winning circuit. In 2023, further initiatives could be undertaken to support recovery rates at the higher throughput level but depending on performance, some of these initiatives may have the flexibility to be deferred until the Phase 3 expansion.
To support the higher processing rates, Jacobina continues to increase underground mining capacity and has prepared an inventory of lower grade stopes and stockpiled ore on surface to provide supplementary mill feed during the ramp up phase. With the higher than planned processing rates that are now anticipated, the company expects to continue drawing from this supplementary ore into 1H22. New mobile mining equipment has been delivered to Jacobina with additional equipment planned to be received in 1Q22 to facilitate the increased mining capacity. A modest increase in underground development is also expected in 2022. The accelerated mine plan shows mill feed grades increasing over the next two years.
The tailings storage strategy is aligned with the accelerated expansion timeline. Construction of the latest phase of the tailings storage facility was recently completed, providing tailings storage capacity at 8500 tpd until the end of 2023. Further permitted phases of the tailings storage facility provide adequate storage capacity to support the life of mine plan. A comprehensive tailings storage strategy is well advanced to provide additional storage solutions including hydraulic backfill, paste fill, and a dry-stack tailings storage facility.
The company’s simplified approach for the Phase 2 expansion reduces capital expenditures, increases energy efficiency, and derisks the project. Capital costs for the Phase 2 expansion are estimated at approximately US$20 million, with US$15 million remaining to be spent in 2022.
The Phase 3 expansion to increase throughput to 10 000 tpd is being evaluated. Engineering is advancing in parallel with Phase 2, with a feasibility study for Phase 3 scheduled for completion in 2023.
4Q21 expected production
Operations have maintained the momentum from their strong performances delivered during 3Q21 and, in particular, El Peñón and Cerro Moro have had excellent production punctuated by high grades and low costs as planned. With strong performance through November, the company expects 4Q21 production to exceed 270 000 GEO with annual production expected to exceed overall 2021 guidance of 1 million GEO. 4Q21 AISC are expected to be the lowest of the year and are estimated to be approximately US$980/GEO or lower, which is 7% below AISC reported for the prior three quarters.
Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/finance-business/13122021/yamana-gold-receives-permit-at-jacobina/