Gold production at the Kumtor Mine in 2019 was 600,201 ounces or 18,668.35 kg, Centerra Gold Inc. reported.
Gold sales in 2019 were 600,231 ounces or 18,669.28 kg with a revenue totaling $827.5 million. Contribution to the national budget in taxes and mandatory payments in 2019 was more than 14.8 billion soms.
The Dore bars produced by the Kumtor mine are purchased by Kyrgyzaltyn JSC for processing at the Kara-Balta refinery pursuant to a Gold and Silver Sales Agreement signed by KGC, Kyrgyzaltyn and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. Kyrgyzaltyn JSC enjoys the exclusive right to sell refined gold and silver both within and outside the Kyrgyz Republic.
Centerra Gold continues to prioritize the health, safety and well-being of its employees, contractors, communities and other stakeholders, particularly during the current outbreak of COVID-19. To date, the company has experienced no operating or production disruptions nor any supply chain interruptions or impact. Kumtor and Mount Milligan operations continue for the time being and, in the case of Kumtor, with the support of the Kyrgyz Republic Government.
During the fourth quarter of 2019, exploration drilling programs continued with the completion of seventy-two diamond drill holes for 17,777 meters, including 3,202 meters of infill drilling in the Hockey Stick Zone and four RC drill holes for 691 meters. Exploration drilling focused on testing zones of mineralization near the surface for additional open pit resources on the north-east side of the Central Pit, at the corridor between the Central and Southwest pits, and on the flanks of the Sarytor target area.
An Airborne magnetic geophysical survey was also carried out within the Kumtor Concession area and beyond.
Kumtor recognized 25% higher revenues and 38% higher earnings from mine operations during 2019 when compared to the prior year as a result of more ounces sold, higher realized gold prices and lower unit costs from the processing of ore with higher grades and recoveries. Cash provided by mine operations was $85.3 million higher in 2019 when compared to 2018 due to higher realized gold prices, higher ounces sold and higher accounts payable.
During 2019, Kumtor focused on developing cut-back 19 and stripping and unloading of ice from cut-back 20. Total waste and ore mined in 2019 was 156.4 million tons compared to 180.3 million tons in the comparative prior year, due primarily to weather delays affecting the truck and shovel availability and the suspension of mining operations in December 2019.
Kumtor produced 600,201 ounces of gold in 2019 compared to 534,563 ounces of gold in 2018. The increase was due primarily to processing ore with higher grade and recovery from cut-back 18 and cut-back 19. During 2019, Kumtor’s mill head grade was 3.7 g/t with a recovery of 83.5% compared with 3.3 g/t grade and a recovery of 79.3% for 2018.
Mining costs, including capitalized stripping, were $197.6 million in 2019 compared to $211.1 million in 2018. Mining costs decreased due to fewer tons mined as a result of the suspension of mining in December 2019 and poor weather conditions during the summer, resulting in a decrease in diesel costs, partially offset by higher costs for spare parts.
Milling costs were $71.6 million in 2019 compared to $67.3 million in the comparative prior year, which increased due to higher carbon fine processing, costs related to the comprehensive maintenance shutdown for the planned replacement of equipment (not performed in 2018) and higher grinding media and cyanide costs due to the processing of a harder ore type.
Site support costs in 2019 totaled $49.0 million compared to $51.7 million in the comparative prior year, the decrease was due primarily to fewer contractors on site and lower camp supply costs.
Production costs per ounce of gold sold were $381 for 2019, consistent with $394 in 2018, due to ounces sold and cost of sales increasing by similar percentages.
All-in sustaining costs on a by-product basis per ounce sold, which excludes revenue-based tax, were $598 per ounce in 2019 compared to $694 per ounce in 2018. The decrease was mainly due to more ounces of gold sold and lower capitalized stripping as a result of the suspension of mining operations and earlier cessation of stripping activity in 2019 (cut-back 19) than in 2018 (cut-back 18). Including revenue-based taxes, all-in sustaining costs on a by-product basis per ounce sold4 were $792 per ounce in 2019 compared to $869 per ounce in 2018.
Contributions made within the Kyrgyz Republic in 2019 (including taxes, refining, domestic suppliers, infrastructure, charities, etc.) exceeded $366.899 million. In all, contributions made within the Kyrgyz Republic between 1994 and 2019 have exceeded $4.14 billion. (24.kg/Ukrainian metal)