The forecast is contained in Centerra’s third quarter 2023 operating and financial results and takes into account an increased production target for its Oksut mine in Turkey and a lower target for the Mount Millgan mine in central B.C.
The open pit Mount Milligan mine, located 155 kilometres northwest of Prince George, produced 39,554 ounces of gold and 15.0 million pounds of copper in the third quarter of 2023.
During the third quarter, mining activities were carried out in phases 5,6,7, and 9 of the open-pit. A total of 13.4 million tonnes were mined in the third quarter of 2023. Process plant throughput for the quarter was 5.6 million tonnes and averaged 60,927 tonnes per day.
Mount Milligan’s 2023 gold production guidance has been lowered to 150,000 to 160,000 ounces from the previous target of 160,000 to 170,000 ounces. This is mainly due to mine sequencing and lower-than-planned gold recoveries from the elevated ratio of pyrite to chalcopyrite from blending low-grade gold, high-grade copper ore mined in phase 9 with high-grade gold, low-grade copper ore mined in phase 7. The company expects medium-term recoveries for gold and copper to be similar to those achieved in 2023.
Meanwhile, Centerra is currently undertaking additional metallurgical reviews aimed at increasing recoveries from current levels.
Mount Milligan’s copper production targets for 2023 remain unchanged at between 60 and 70 million pounds, estimates that are near the low end of the company’s guidance range.
The Oksut mine produced 86,667 ounces of gold in the third quarter of 2023. During the quarter, mining activities were focused on stripping and waste removal from phase 5 and 6 of the Keltepe pit, with some activities carried out in phase two of the Guneytepe pit.
Full-year 2023 production guidance at Oksut has been increased to 190,000 to 200,000 ounces of gold, up from the earlier target of 180,000 to 190,000 ounces. The increase is due to a successful ramp-up of production in the third quarter.
The revised guidance for Oksut and Mount Milligan was released after the close of trading on October 31, 2023, when Centerra shares closed at $7.05. The shares are trading in a 52-week range of $10.28 and $5.86.
Centerra reported net earnings of US$60.6 million or 28 cents per share in the third quarter and adjusted net earnings of US$44.4 million or 20 cents per share.
In September, 2023, the company announced positive economics for the restart of the Thompson Creek molybdenum mine in Idaho.
The company previously said a pre-feasibility study (PFS) for Thompson Creek supports a disciplined path to restarting operations. The aim is to realize significant vertical integration synergies with its Langeloth Metallurgical Facility, which ranks among the largest molybdenum conversion plants in North America.