MINING AND PROCESSING
Conventional open pit mining methods will be utilized at Ağı Dağı with contract mining to be employed. Ağı Dağı is comprised of two deposits which form the Baba and Deli pits. Baba and Deli are located approximately 2.5 km apart. The final pit designs are based on a 5 metre (“m”) bench height. A traditional drill, blast, load and haul sequence will be used to deliver ore to the crushing circuit. Waste produced over the life of the mine will be used as engineered fill for the leach pad foundation, primarily during the pre-production phase, trucked to the waste rock dump located directly north of the Deli pit, or backfilled into the pits once the ultimate pit bottoms are achieved.
As with Kirazlı, an opportunity to improve the design of the pit slopes at Ağı Dağı was outlined in the 2012 pre-feasibility study and additional geotechnical work was subsequently undertaken. The geotechnical evaluation was based on core logging, point load testing and laboratory analysis of the geotechnical core holes. Based on the findings, the recommended inter-ramp/overall pit slope angles have been increased to a range of 35 to 48° depending on the sector of the pits with all but one of the sectors between 40 and 48°. This has reduced the amount of waste to be mined resulting in a lower life of mine waste-to-ore ratio of 1.03:1, from 1.16:1 in the 2012 pre-feasibility study. This has helped reduce the mining cost per tonne of ore and improved the overall economics of the project.
Processing and Infrastructure
Ağı Dağı has been designed as a 30,000 tonnes per day (“tpd”) heap leach operation utilizing a multiple lift, single use leach pad. Ore will be mined from both the Baba and Deli pits and processed through two primary crushers, one located near each pit. The primary crushed ore will then be conveyed to a central secondary crushing circuit where it will be crushed to a nominal size of 26 millimetres. The secondary crushed ore will be drum agglomerated, stacked on the leach pad by conveyor stacking and processed with conventional heap leaching methods.
The crushed ore will be stacked in 10 m lifts with the leach pad facility to be constructed in three phases to an ultimate height of 70 m. Phase 1 will have a capacity of 29.7 million tonnes, phase 2, a capacity of 19.8 million tonnes, and phase 3, a capacity of 24.1 million tonnes for an ultimate capacity of 73.6 million tonnes. This is approximately 19.2 million tonnes larger than the current mineral reserve of 54.4 million tonnes to accommodate future potential exploration success and the current 16.6 million tonnes of mineralized material included within the PEA mine plan for Çamyurt. The capital required for all three phases is included within the total life of mine capital estimate for Ağı Dağı.
A dilute cyanide solution will be applied to the crushed ore over a 90 day leaching cycle with the pregnant solution collected and processed through the adsorption-desorption-recovery (“ADR”) plant where gold and silver doré will be produced.
Based on column tests conducted on the different alteration types at Ağı Dağı, gold and silver recoveries are expected to average 80% and 25%, respectively.
Ağı Dağı will be supplied with power by connecting to commercial power. Overhead power lines will connect 34.5 kV, three phase and 50 Hz power system to a metering and switching substation located on site near each primary crusher. In the event of a power failure, a diesel fired backup generator will be used to supply emergency power.
Operational water will be supplied via a pipeline from a planned reservoir to be constructed by Alamos. The reservoir for Ağı Dağı will be independent of the reservoir to be constructed for the Kirazlı project. In conjunction with the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs – State Hydraulic Works (“DSI”), a water reservoir project has been designed to supply the process water requirements of the Ağı Dağı project and clean drinking water for the nearby communities. The feasibility study on the reservoir project has been approved by DSI.
Since acquiring the Ağı Dağı and Kirazlı projects in early 2010 and in line with the Company’s objectives of sustainable development and social responsibility, the Company recognized the importance of improving the quality of potable water delivered to the local communities within its project areas and has committed to the development of the reservoir.
Production from Ağı Dağı and Çamyurt is subject to a 2% net smelter return (“NSR”) royalty payable to Franco-Nevada Corporation.