Lihir Gold Expects Increased Production
Lihir Eyes Annual Production of 1.45 Million Ounces
Mid-Tier gold producer Lihir Gold (NASDAQ: LIHR) reported production targets for the company's mines for the next decade, highlighting plans for significant increases in gold output.
Lihir is aiming to produce an average 1.45 million ounces of gold per year between 2012 to 2016, rising to an average of 1.5 million ounces per year for the following five, to 2021. This represents an increase of 50% from 2010 production levels, between 960,000 and 1.06 million ounces.
The increase in annual gold production is primarily driven by Lihir's current expansion projects at the company's Lihir Island and Bonikro mines.
A plant upgrade at Lihir Island is expected to lift production to more than 1 million ounces per year from 2012. With a budget of $940 million, this upgrade will raise ore processing capacity at the operation by approximately two-thirds. Construction for the upgrade is on track and within budget for completion by the end of next year.
At the Bonikro mine, an expansion of processing capacity and new higher grade satellite ore deposits are the subject of a feasibility study due for completion by the end of the third quarter of 2010. Production at Bonikro is anticipated to increase from 110,000 to 130,000 ounces per year in 2010 to an average of 250,000 ounces per year from 2012 to 2016. The capital cost of the expansion is expected to be below $100 million.
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