Centerra Gold Inc. [CG-TSX, CAGDF-OTC] said Friday it has temporarily suspended gold dore bar production at its Oksut mine in Turkey after detecting the presence of mercury contamination in the final stages of processing.
The company said it has taken several initial actions in response, including cleaning mercury from affected areas, taking steps to mitigate and prevent exposure, implementing the necessary protocols and protective equipment, and is in the process of taking the necessary regulatory steps.
The company also said it is evaluating several potential technical solutions to remove the mercury in the gold recovery process, including a retort and scrubbing system in the absorption-desorption recovery (ADR) plant, prior to the restart of production.
Meanwhile, the company is evaluating the impact on 2022 guidance, noting that through March 17, 2022, the mine produced and sold over 54,000 gold ounces. â€œFollowing a thorough review, Centerra expects to provide an update in due course,â€™â€™ the company said in a press release.
Despite the temporary suspension, the Oksut mine continues to mine ore, stack ore on the leach pad and process ore within the ADR plant into a gold-in-carbon form. The gold-in-carbon will be stockpiled until the restart of the electrowinning process, where the recovery of gold from concentrated solution occurs.
Centerra has previously said it expects to produce 400,000-450,000 ounces of gold and 70-80 million pounds of copper this year. In 2021, the company produced 308,141 ounces of gold, including 111,703 ounces from the Oskut mine.
On Friday, Centerra shares eased 4.7% or 60 cents to $12 on volume of 398,340. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $13.63 and $8.21.
Centerra is a Canadian gold mining company with a focus on operating, developing, exploring and acquiring gold properties in North America, Turkey and other markets worldwide.
The Oksut mine is located in the Kayseri province of south-central Turkey, 295 kilometres southeast of the capital city of Ankara and 48 kilometres south of the city of Kayseri. Total proven and probable reserves at the site stand at 1.14 million ounces of gold. Commercial production was achieved in May, 2020
Aside from Oksut, Centerra operates the Mount Milligan mine in British Columbia.
While the company still owns the Kumtor mine in the Kyrgyz Republic, that asset is no longer under the companyâ€™s control. Centerra was recently engaged in negotiations with representatives of the Kyrgyz Republic to resolve their dispute related to seizure of the Kumtor Mine by the Kyrgyz government in May, 2021.
Centerra recently added to its asset base by agreeing to acquire the Goldfield district development project in Nevada from Waterton Nevada Splitter LLC for US$206.5 million in cash at closing. Goldfield is a conventional open pit, heap leach project in late-stage development.