TORONTO – Centerra Gold Inc. [CG-TSX, CGAU-NYSE] said Wednesday it has obtained Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval for its Oskut gold mine in Turkey. The company said the Turkish Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change has approved the amended EIA.
With the EIA approval in hand, along with the receipt of regulatory approvals for the mercury abatement retrofit to the absorption, desorption and recovery plant, Centerra expects to restart full operations at Oksut in the coming weeks, the company said in a press release.
Centerra shares advanced on the news, rising 8.8% or 65.5 cents to $8.10 on volume of 1.35 million. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $10.77 and $5.18.
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 company has previously said it is making steady progress a the Oskut Mine in Turkey towards a restart of operations. Back in March 2022, Centerra suspended gold dore bar production at Oksut after detecting the presence of mercury contamination in the final stages of processing (in the gold room at the ADR plant).
“The retrofit of the ADR plant at he Oskut Mine was completed in early 2023, and we continue to work with the Turkish officials on the restart of the gold room operations at the ADR plant as well as an updated EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) for the mine,’’ the company said.
“We have received a 10-year operating license extension for the Oksut Mine as well as the approval of an enlarged grazing and land permit.’’
From the date of suspension of the gold room operations through to August, 2022, the company continued to process ore into gold-in-carbon and had approximately 100,000 recoverable ounces of stored gold in carbon as of December 31, 2022.
The company said it has completed the construction of a mercury abatement system to allow for processing of mercury-bearing ores with carbon costs below the original $5 million. Once operations resume, the company said the ADR plan is expected to have sufficient production capacity to process up to approximately 35,000 ounces of gold per month.
Centerra recently declared a quarterly dividend of $0.07 per share – approximately $15.3 million or US$11.3 million. The dividend is payable on June 12, 2023, to shareholders of record on May 29, 2023.
The dividend was declared after the company posted a net loss of $73.5 million or 34 cents a share in the first quarter of 2023, including a non-cash reclamation expense at care and maintenance sites of $15.6 million or $0.07 per share.
Gold and copper production at the Mt. Milligan mine in British Columbia in the first quarter was 33,215 ounces and 13.4 million pounds respectively.