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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Africa: October 14th 2008


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:: LGL's Bonikro Operation Pours First Gold

Lihir Gold Limited (LGL) has commenced gold production at its Bonikro operation in Ivory Coast, with the first gold pour completed overnight on Monday 6 October.

LGL Managing Director Arthur Hood said the start of gold production at Bonikro was a significant milestone for the LGL group.

"Bonikro's successful transition to a producing gold mine heralds a new era for LGL as a globally diversified producer," he said. "We are confident this development represents the beginning of a long and highly productive presence for LGL in Ivory Coast."

Commissioning of the processing facilities at Bonikro began on 22 August, with 24 hour operations commencing on September 15. Throughput is now running around the nameplate capacity of 2.4 million tonnes per year for oxide ore, with gold grades and plant recovery rates in line with expectations. Bonikro gold production in 2008 is expected to be approximately 50,000 ounces. In future years, annual gold production is expected to average 120,000 ounces, with the mine life currently estimated at 8 years.

LGL also holds extensive exploration acreage in the highly prospective Birimian greenstone belt in Ivory Coast, and positive exploration results within close proximity to Bonikro are expected to lead to an extension in the life of the operation.

Construction of the open pit gold mine and process plant at Bonikro commenced in May 2007 with oxide ore stockpiled for processing since mining operations began in October 2007. While the capital cost is yet to be finalised it is estimated to be in line with guidance at around A$103 million compared to the original estimate of A$97million, an outstanding outcome in the current construction environment.




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