Centamin delays work at Sukari after safety warning

An excavator in the pit at Centamin’s Sukari gold mine in Egypt. Credit: Centamin.

Egypt-focused gold miner Centamin (TSX: CEE; LON: CEY) has announced that its total output targets for 2020 will be affected by safety-related delays at its flagship Sukari mine in Egypt.

The company said radar systems detected a movement in Sukari’s open pit Stage 4 West wall, which prompted it to immediately defer open-pit mining operations in that zone. Work in the area was scheduled to start during the fourth quarter.

“While the precise impact has yet to be fully determined, the company’s preliminary estimate is that production for the fourth quarter will be reduced to circa 70,000 ounces,” the miner said in a statement.

Gold production for the three months ended Sept. 30 at Sukari was around 120,000 oz., taking 2020 annual production to 375,000 oz., so far. The company’s guidance for 2020 was between 510,000-525,000 oz. gold.

The company noted that underground mining had not been affected.

Sukari, which began operations in January 2010, comprises a large open pit and an underground mine.

The asset, the only operating gold mine in Egypt, has an estimated productive life of about 15 years. The company, however, is in the process of reviewing that timeline.

“As previously disclosed, we are undertaking a LOA [life of asset] review of Sukari,” it said. “This is well advanced and any rehabilitation requirements and implications for long-term geotechnical stability will be incorporated into this initiative.”

Centamin has proved resilient to recent challenges, beyond those brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. After about six months without a top boss, it appointed Martin Horgan as its new chief executive officer in April.

The company also has gone through some major board changes. Those include Josef El-Raghy migrating from executive chairman to chairman, 18 years after becoming managing director.

— This article first appeared in Mining.com, part of Glacier Resource Innovation Group.


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