Centerra reduces operations at Mount Milligan

Centerra Gold says it will scale back its troubled Mount Milligan copper-gold mine in British Columbia, Canada, for a fortnight as a precautionary measure in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
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Centerra Gold’s Mount Milligan operations in British Columbia, Canada

Staff reporter

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The news comes a week after Centerra deleted about 2.3 million ounces of gold from Mount Milligan's reserve base, blaming factors including higher water sourcing costs and a reworked resource model and mine plan. 

The company said it had already significantly reduced operations at its new Öksüt mine in Turkey for an initial two weeks, in line with government initiatives, but its Kumtor mine was continuing with the Kyrgyz government's support.

Centerra said it was "continuing to review the impact" of COVID-19 on its 2020 production and cost guidance.

It said its North American molybdenum operations were continuing for the time being but its office in Toronto was temporarily closed and staff in the Bishkek, Prince George and Ankara offices had been asked to work remotely.

Mount Milligan's slowdown is set to start on April 6, the next scheduled employee rotation change.

"While there are no reported cases of COVID-19 at the Mount Milligan mine, the mine is remote and has a large camp accommodation facility where substantially all of the on-site employees reside while on their rotation," the company said.

It said during the two-week period, mill feed would be sourced from surface stockpiles, mining activities would be limited to supporting building the tailings storage facility and the site would continue to prepare to capture maximum water from the upcoming spring melt.

The company had cash net of debt of about US$35 million at March 31 and said it had total overall liquidity of more than $500 million.