Centamin lifts gold estimate as it warns on delay to expansion

EGYPTIAN miner Centamin yesterday hiked its gold resource estimate 22 per cent, as it warned on further delays to its expansion plan.

Its flagship Sukari operation is now forecast to produce 320,000 ounces of the yellow metal this year.

It marks the third successive year of output growth at the Egyptian mine, which was at the end of last year hit by a dispute over diesel supplies and a customs request to halt gold exports.

FTSE 250 Centamin said it is moving towards a long-term target of between 450,000 and 500,000 ounces of gold a year from 2015.

Meanwhile, its expansion project – which it pushed back to the second quarter of this year back in November – has experienced more delays, and Centamin expects the majority of the commissioning activities to begin later this year.

As a result of the delays, Centamin lifted its estimate for the total capital cost for expansion plan to $325m (£216m) including contingency, from $287.6m last year, excluding contingency.

It still expects the expanded plant – which is expected to double capacity at Sukari from 5m tonnes a year to 10m tonnes – to be fully operational before the end of the year, and have no impact on production.