Centamin raises estimate for Egypt’s Sukari gold mine reserves by 10%

Ahram Online , Tuesday 19 Dec 2023

Global gold mining company Centamin has raised its estimates of gold reserves in Egypt's largest producing mine by 10 percent from 5.3 million to 5.8 million ounces. according to the company’s annual update on Tuesday.

Sukari gold mine. Stock photo.
Sukari gold mine. Stock photo.


This upward revision is attributed to an improved geological understanding of the Sukari mine, which led to an increase of 500,000 ounces in gold reserves, the Australian company said.

Centamin added that its primary focus for 2024 will be on expanding resources in the underground sector.

To achieve this objective, the company has plans for extensive drilling in the Sukari mine, targeting a total of 285,000 metres as part of its geological programme for 2024.

"The results of the full analysis from an initial drilling operation of 16,000 meters in the Eastern Desert are expected to be available by the first quarter of 2024," the company indicated.

As of the end of June 2023, the Sukari mine's mineral reserves stood at 5.8 million ounces of contained gold, with a 4 percent decrease year-on-year, primarily due to mining depletion of 0.52 million ounces, partially offset by 0.24 million ounces of mineral reserve growth, according to the data released by the company.

“Based on the planned throughput and mining rates, the remaining life of the Sukari mineral reserve is estimated to be 13 years for the open pit operation, including stockpiles, and 8 years for the underground operation,” Centamin noted.

Martin Horgan, the CEO of Centamin, stated that since 2020, the company has achieved 3.5 million ounces of mineral reserve growth, before mining exhaustion, exceeding its goal of 3 million ounces.

Gold production

In terms of production, the third quarter of 2023 saw the Sukari mine produce 101,370 ounces of gold, representing a 21 percent decrease on an annual basis. 

This brings the total production for the first nine months to 321,931 ounces, according to a separate quarterly report by the company.

In October, Centamin announced its plan to increase production at the Sukari mine by 14.74 percent, aiming for 506,000 ounces (over 15.81 tons) for the next nine years, ending in 2032.

The company's annual update further projects an average gold production of 506,000 ounces per annum for the next nine years (2024-2032) and 475,000 ounces per annum for the life of the mine (2024-2034).

Egypt's gold production amounts to about 15.8 tons per year, most of which comes from Sukari in the Eastern Desert, according to a report by the World Gold Council.

The country's gold exports increased by 45 percent to reach $1.633 billion in 2022, compared to $1.126 billion in 2021, as reported by Egypt's General Organization for Export and Import Control.

Egypt boasts a rich history of gold mining, with around 270 gold sites across the country, including 120 sites and mines that were active in ancient times. Among these, the Sukari mine stands out as the largest and most renowned in Egypt.

Recognizing the potential for further growth in the mining sector, the Egyptian government has recently launched new tenders for gold and precious metals mining in the country during the second half of 2023.

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