Gold Fields approves $175 million expansion at Tarkwa mine in Ghana
Gold Fields has received approval in South Africa for two expansion projects costing $175million at its Tarkwa mine in Ghana, creating more jobs and increased revenues from gold. Gold Fields, the world's fourth biggest gold producer, said in a statement that the projects would allow the open-pit mine to maintain output of more than 700,000 ounces per year until 2021.
The first project, costing $126m, is to expand the capacity of the existing carbon-in-leach processing plant to 12-million tonnes per year from 4.2 million tonnes per year. And the second project is to expand Tarkwa's north heap leach facility by adding an additional heap leach pad, costing $49m.
Heap leaching is the extraction of low-grade gold through piling the crushed ore on to large pads lined with clay and plastic and using a cyanide solution to leach the ore out of the rock.
Construction of both projects is expected to start in the first quarter of next year and should be completed in the second half of 2008. However, management has queried the carbon-in-leach project's viability against the background of power-generation problems in Ghana as it would require a 14MW mill. Gold Fields, AngloGold Ashanti, Newmont and Golden Star were considering a 100MW plant to feed power into Ghana's national grid.