Wednesday, 9 May 2012

May 8

04:30 Wake up
05:30 Bus leaves
09:00 Arrive at Kislidag Gold Mine
10:00 Open pit tour
10:45 Heap leach pad and ADR plant
11:30 Efemcukuru Concentrate Processing Plant tour
12:15 Lunch
12:45 PR thank you/ Wrap up
13:15 Bus departs Kislidag for Izmir

Today we visited Eldorado Gold’s Kislidag Mine. After a 4 hour early morning bus trip up a mountain we arrived at the mine and were greeted by the public relations department. After a very brief welcome and introduction we went into the mine. To get to the open pit we travel through the crushing plant and end up at the open pit lookout. The mine doesn’t allow visitors into the pit so this was the extent of the tour; from here we could see the entire mining operation. The mine was very impressive in how clean the pit walls were, the presplitting was very effective at wall control. The current mining fleet consists of 15 785 haul trucks, 2 hitachi shovels, 1 990 Loader, 3 blasthole drills, 1 presplitting drill and various support equipment. The mine has 3 production streams depending on blast control and grade. Well blasted ore is sent directly to the leach pad, poorly blasted ore is sent to the crushers and waste is sent to the waste rock facility.

After a while lookout point, we were met by Veli Gokdere, the production manager at the Kislidag operation. He took us through a tour of the heap leach pad where crushed ore from the mine was processed. The pad was on a much larger scale than what we have seen before; it must have been over 1km across and made up of 6 lifts, each 10 meters high. Right next to the leach pad was the ADR plant where the leach solution was processed to produce the solution for electro-winning. It was great to see that environmental protection was taken as the first priority in the design of the facility. Due to the size of the group and time restrictions, we were not able to scale to the top of the heap leach pad.
Up next was the tour of the concentrate processing facility for the concentrate from Efemcukuru. Veli took us through the entire process of converting the 100 g/t concentrate into a solution for electro-winning. This plant was very unique; it is one of the few plants in the world that uses direct leaching with no intermediate carbon adsorption process.  Bern was also particularly interested in the ISAMILL that was used for regrinding the concentrate before leaching. Overall, it was a great tour. Veli was very knowledgeable and was able to effectively answer all our questions. I even recalled that the processors offered him a job to teach at UBC at one point.

The mine tour ended with a presentation on the social aspects of operating the Kislidag mine. The mine had a 10 year permitting process in which the mine was hotly contested by local and international environmental groups. The opposition to the project was abated by allowing site tours to all interested parties and this practice continues today. In fact while we were wrapping up the tour there was a community group there that was finishing a tour. Overall the Kislidag Gold Mine is a world class operation that is operated at the highest standards and may be considered a model mine for the gold mining industry.  Considering the last two site visits, it is safe to say that Eldorado and its Turkish subsidiary Tuprag operate to the highest standards.

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