Lydian International Inc (TSE:LYD) is steaming ahead in building its wholly owned giant Amulsar mine, which will be Armenia's largest gold mine.
Construction began in the fourth quarter of 2016 and is now about half way through and the group expects to pour its first gold bar in the middle of 2018.
"Amulsar is an opportunity for a large scale, low cost , world class operation ...," said Howard Stevenson, president and chief executive, when he recently spoke to Proactive.
In July, the firm said it had committed about 75% so far of the total capex required for the project, which is fully financed.
Lydian has $440mln of financing in place and the cost of the project has been estimated at US$369.9mln, so it is well covered.
WATCH - Lydian International full steam ahead with construction building Armenia's largest gold mine
What is Amulsar ...?
Amulsar was discovered by Lydian a decade ago on a geology road trip and lies 170km south of Armenia's capital Yerevan on the border between the provinces of Vayots Dzor and Sunnik.
The Amulsar licenses cover an area of 65 sq km.
Local infrastructure is good. There is a paved highway some 4km to the south of the project available to the town of Jermuk and high tension power lines pass along the main road and electricity is charged at $0.06/kWh
Water is available from the Vorotan River and the Spandaryan reservoir, 3km east and 8km south east respectively.
Putting the pieces together ...
Major engineering and procurement commitments are complete, the firm revealed last month, and initial deliveries of structural steel and other key equipment were delivered during the second quarter.
The company has taken delivery of another batch of components, including a jaw-crusher, a rock breaker, pan feeders and screen liners.
Shipments and deliveries of major mining and processing equipment are advancing as planned.
The mining fleet for Amulsar will include 19 Caterpillar 789D 180-tonne-capacity haul trucks, one 994 front-end loader and two 6040 hydraulic shovels. A training simulator has been purchased to train operators.
Set to become Armenia's largest gold mine ...
In February this year, the group's mineral resource and reserve was upgraded, with a 16% lift to the higher confidence measured and indicated category.
This was lifted by 19.8 mln tonnes to 142.2 mln tonnes - a 16% increase while notably the same gold grade was maintained.
The mineral reserve estimate was lifted by 184,000 contained gold ounces to 2.606 mln contained gold ounces, which was an increase of 8%.
Lydian has said it expects mining production will reach 25 mln tonnes of material during the first year of operation.
Gold output, beginning in 2018, is targeted to average around 215,000 ounces per year over an initial 10 year mine life.
Amulsar is a large scale, low cost, technically simple open pit project, where the all-in-sustaining-costs are US$585 an ounce and the recovery on the leach pad is put at 87%.
Experienced mine builder as COO ...
In May, the company hired seasoned executive Andrew Kaczmarek as chief operating officer.
He has spent his career building and operating mines in ten countries, the firm noted.
At Alacer, he was responsible for building the Copler gold mine in east-central Turkey, and as vice-president of development for Kinross Gold responsible for engineering and construction for the re-opening of the Refugio mine in Chile.