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Owner-operated, high-volume, grade-driven surface operation
Low-margin reserves removed from the plan
Maintaining capital waste strip rates to secure a steady flow of consistent grade ore
Focus on maintaining and improving high mining and processing efficiencies
LoM remains at 2031 (16 years)

Asset fundamentals

Asset fundamentals    
License status and holdings   The Tarkwa mine operates under mining leases covering a total area of approximately 20,825 hectares. Five mining leases, dated 18 April 1997, cover the Tarkwa property, while two mining leases, dated 2 February 1988 and 18 June 1992 respectively, cover the Teberebie property. The Tarkwa concession mining leases expire in 2027 and the Teberebie property mining leases expire in 2018. Application for an extension of the mining leases has been applied for and all required fees and documentation submitted to the Minerals Commission of Ghana. There is no reason to expect that these will not be granted. All necessary statutory mining authorisations and permits are in place for the Tarkwa Mine Lease and GFG is entitled to mine all material falling within the lease.
Operational infrastructuire and processing capacity  

Four large open pits currently exploit the stacked narrow auriferous conglomerates, similar to those mined in the Witwatersrand Basin of South Africa.

Ore is processed utilising a conventional CIL plant, with a gyratory crusher feeding a SAG mill and ball mill. Gold is recovered from solution by electro-winning and smelted in an induction furnace. Current plant capacity is 13.5Mtpa.

LoM tailings deposition requirements are catered for in the short term by wall raise sequences at the operating TSF 1, 2 and 3 facilities and in the medium term by TSF 5 whose construction starts in Q1 2016. In the longer term, LoM tailings deposition requirements will be catered for by planned TSF’s 4 and 6.

Climate   A tropical climate, characterised by two distinct rainy seasons from March to July and September to November. Average annual rainfall near the site is 2,245 millimetres. Although there may be minor disruptions to operations during the wet season, there is no operating or long-term constraint on production due to climate.
Deposit type   The open pit surface operation currently exploits the tabular auriferous conglomerates from four open pits – Pepe-Mantraim, Teberebie, Akontansi and Kottraverchy.
LoM   It is estimated that the current Mineral Reserves will be depleted in 2031 (16 years).
Environmental, health and safety   Tarkwa retained its ISO 14001 environmental management system and certification following an external audit during 2015. The mine also retained full compliance to the ICMC, as well as OHSAS 18001 in October and June 2014 respectively.

Brief history of Tarkwa

Sinking of the Abontiakoon vertical shaft was completed in 1935 and a central mill with a capacity of 30ktpm was constructed in the following four years. Several small mining companies operated the Abontiakoon concession, but in 1960 all workings were abandoned and allowed to flood.

In 1961, production restarted under the State Gold Mining Corporation and in 1963 the Tarkwa mines were renamed Tarkwa Goldfields Limited. The Apinto Shaft was sunk in the mid-seventies.

GFG signed a management contract with the Ghanaian government to operate the mine in 1993, and in 1996 completed a feasibility study on an open pit/heap leach operation. In 1998, the initial Tarkwa Phase 1 development was completed for an open pit operation mining 14.5Mtpa, including 4.7Mtpa of heap leach feed ore. In 1999, the Tarkwa Phase 2 expansion was completed to increase the mining rate to 20.7Mtpa and heap leach feed ore production to 7.2Mtpa. All underground operations and the associated processing plant ceased production in this year. In 2000, GFG acquired the northern area of Teberebie and mining production was increased to 36Mtpa.

Tarkwa implemented owner mining in July 2004 and commissioned a CIL plant with a name plate capacity of 4.2Mtpa in October 2004. The expanded CIL plant was commissioned in January 2009 and a design throughput of 12.3Mtpa was achieved in September 2009. Conversion to owner maintenance was completed in 2010.

In 2011, GFG acquired the 18.9% IAMGold interest in Tarkwa and now holds 90%, with the remaining 10% is held by the Ghanaian government. At the end of 2013, all heap leach operations ceased.

The CIL plant capacity was increased to 13.5Mtpa late in 2014 and further enhancements to increase the capacity to 15.5Mtpa are being considered.

Key developments at Tarkwa

Mineral Reserves decreased net of depletion (0.6Moz) from 7.5Moz to 6.7Moz
The mine continues to deliver world-class mining and processing costs. Restructuring the mine to operate at lower total mining volumes (90 – 100Mtpa total mining) will facilitate operational flexibility and underpin targeted head grades to deliver 520 – 560koz of gold per annum
Various alternative mining and processing options have been investigated to identify the best value option for Tarkwa. A CIL-only option proved to be the most operationally and financially viable choice, and, as a result, the throughput has been increased to 13.5Mtpa, with processing of the spent south heap leach material planned at the end of the LoM production profile
Palaeoplacer and hydrothermal style exploration continues with the intent of defining new higher-grade ore sources
Options for in-pit waste dumping are being assessed

Plan of the Tarkwa mining area

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Geographic location
Geographic location

Related links
›  Detailed disclosure of the West African Region in the 2015 integrated report