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Centamin Plc: Growing Towards the Future of Mining

Through disciplined investment in growth and diversification, Centamin Plc is an established gold producer with key assets in Egypt and West Africa. Centamin is actively working to advance the future of mining prospects across these regions, to establish the company as one of the leading gold mining operators in the world. Consequently, through the company’s solid financial position and expertise in mine development, Centamin continues to develop its operations to span further across the globe. Centamin aims to establish itself as a business for the future that believes in crucial investments towards growth and diversification to tackle the future of mining.    

Centamin has a large portfolio of exploration assets in Egypt and West Africa, however, its flagship asset the Sukari Gold Mine is the first large-scale modern gold mine in Egypt and is one of the world’s largest producing mines with over 400,000 ounces of gold produced per annum. The Sukari Gold Mine is a long-life, bulk tonnage open pit and underground mining operation which began production in 2009. Since its first production, the mine has produced circa 5 million ounces of gold, and today has a mine life of 12 years. The mine was established following the exploration success of its Egyptian founders in the 1990s. Today, The Egyptian Miner Resource Authority (EMRA), a division of the Egyptian government, has partnered with Centamin and is entitled to 50% of the operating profits from the Sukari Gold Mine through a concession agreement,  which can be used to develop Egypt’s mining industry and local communities for the future. 

The current exploration of the Sukari Gold mine is focused on defining targets close to existing infrastructure. The Amun and Ptah are current areas of production in the underground section of the mines which is proximal to existing infrastructure and so can be brought into the mining schedule quickly and cost-effectively. Furthermore, the Horus development is beneath the Amun zone and represents a long-term future for the mine as current development is set to push into the upper levels of the Horus section to establish drill platforms.  

Finally, the Bonanza Zone was identified in 2021 for its high-grade reserves within the 100m of existing infrastructure. This discovery is hoped to provide further development of the mine in the future, which is hoped to bring greater flexibility and a new high-grade mining area in the coming years. Currently, surface exploration work is being undertaken, which has identified multiple shallow open pit gold satellite targets within the mining concession which has the potential to supplement the Sukari Mill feed in the short to medium terms to improve operational flexibility.  

Today the Sukari Gold Mine is a large operation which is served by a tarmac road, off-grid power, and a 25km water pipeline fed by the Red Sea. Centamin’s mining operations across Egypt have a total gold reserve of 11.11 million ounces (Moz), which includes its 3000 squared kilometres (km2) of new exploration licenses across the region. Consequently, the Sukari Mine is a hub of employment opportunities as 95% of the site’s employees are Egyptian, and so the mine’s role in the local community is just as valuable as its gold reserves and outputs. One of Centamin’s central aims is to create opportunities through responsible mining, and so it continually develops its operations to benefit both local communities and the economic development of the respective region’s mining industries. 

Another key development for Centamin is the Doropo Gold Project for which “exploration is at the heart of everything we do”. The mine has a proven-probable reserves of 1.9 Moz across the 1847 km2 license holding. The project is located northeast of Côte d’Ivoire and comprises 7 exploration permits. The license covers 13 gold deposits, however, 85% of the site’s gold deposits are concentrated within a 7km radius. Extensive exploration began at Doropo in 2016, which saw the project have a mineral resource estimate of 5Moz by 2021. Part of the pre-feasibility study work programme saw a maiden mineral reserve of 1.87 Moz declared in the probable reserves category. The project is currently being progressed through to a definitive feasibility study stage, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2024.  

The ABC Project is located in the northwest of Côte d’Ivoire roughly 360km from the Doropo Gold Project. The ABC project has 2.16 Moz of inferred resources over an 1143km2 license holding. It is a greenfield exploration with 3 permits across the highly prospective landholding along the underexplored contact zone between the Archean and Birimian cratons. Exploration at present has delineated a north-to-south trending fold-mineralised corridor, the Loloso Gold Corridor, which is over 30km in length within the Kona permit of the ABC Project. The early stages of explorations saw the resource base double between 2019 to 2020. Development at the Farako-Nafarana and Kona permits led to the delineation of 7 new anomalous areas to be followed up with close-spaced sampling to generate new targets from trenching and then drill testing which was set to begin last year.  

The final key development of Centamin is the Eastern Desert Exploration (EDX) Project which comprises 3000 km2 of greenfield exploration tenements within the Egyptian section of the Arabian Nubian Shield. The site hasn’t been explored using the current top exploration methods in the modern era, but it represents a significant land package of highly prospective but underexplored geological terrain. The Nuguarus Block surrounds the Sukari Mining concession and is set to target potential satellite deposits and low capex mill feed to the Sukari processing plant. Additionally, the Um Rus Block located to the north of the Sukari and the Najd Block located to the northwest are looking to explore potential standalone operations.  

Just a few months ago in July, Centamin agreed on the framework for the Model Mining Exploitation Agreement (MMEA) with the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and National Resources, as well as the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority. MMEA is responsible for setting out all the legal and fiscal frameworks that will apply to the commercial discoveries made on the EDX blocks.   

Centamin focuses on responsibly producing profitable mineral ounces which focus on value rather than volume. This sense of responsibility can be seen throughout all of Centamin’s operations as they focus on cost control, disciplined capital allocation and the improvement of operating efficiencies. Therefore, Centamin practices responsible mining activities which recognise its responsibility to deliver crucial operational and financial performance and create lasting mutual benefits for all stakeholders through good corporate citizenship.  

This sense of responsibility began as Centamin was a first mover in Egypt and is keenly aware of the business and societal importance of building a responsible culture that values and supports people and local communities through job opportunities, infrastructure, and education. These areas thus are focused on throughout the development of assets to deliver these infrastructural development projects, whilst also delivering on stakeholder returns for a combined responsible and economic development of mining across all Centamin’s operations. 

Ultimately, Centamin is focused on creating opportunities for people through responsible mining, with key values to protect, innovate and provide education across the industry. The company seeks to be a multi-asset gold producer which delivers value through responsibly mining high-quality, long-life assets. Therefore, Centamin seems to have been successful in its mission as it continues to create valuable returns for its stakeholders by diversifying its asset base and promoting further growth of the industry, the economy and local communities. Therefore, through the Sukari Gold Mine, Doropo Gold Ming, ABC project and the EDX project, Centamin continues to expand its reach as an established key player in the world of gold mining across Egypt and West Africa.