The 160 sq km Sukari gold project is located in the Eastern Desert of Egypt about 23 km southwest of the Red Sea coastal town of Marsa Alam and 750 km by highway from Cairo.
Pharaoh Gold Mines NL, Centamin's wholly-owned subsidiary, and the Egyptian Minerals and Resource Authority established an operating company, Sukari Gold Mining Company, 50% owned by each party. The Government of Egypt is entitled to a royalty of 3% of net sale revenue, payable in cash each calendar half year.
The region has a very long history of mining and exploration carried out through all stages of history, from Pharaonic times (Ca 3,200 BC), through Ptolemaic, Roman, Arab and British colonial to the present day.
Ancient Egypt's development was fueled by a relative abundance of construction materials, copper, lead, gold and semiprecious stones. Thousands of people - slaves, conscripts, trade people and soldiers - amassed in large state-sponsored expeditions headed for the wadis of the Eastern Desert were they mined granite and gold for the benefit of both Pharaoh and priests. Carved in the walls of ancient quarries that riddle the wind blown desert hieroglyph inscriptions provide the world's first mention of prospectors - a well established category of people skilled in finding the much coveted ore.
The old Sukari gold mine was established on an outcropping quartz vein on the south-western flank of Sukari Ridge. In Pharaonic times, mining of this vein extended to about 50 m from surface and, intermittently, along about 200 m strike, with stopes about one meter wide
The present day Sukari gold deposit will be mined using conventional open pit selective mining methods over a 15 years mine life. Excess low grade is going to be stockpiled for later treatment, which extends the life of the operation for another 6 years.
The process plant design comprises coarse ore stockpile, milling and CIL circuits - relocated from Newmont's Kori Kollo operation, Bolivia - combined with a new primary crusher, a new flotation, regrind and concentrate CIL circuit and new elution/gold room facilities for each of the CIL circuits.
The project has been given approval to go-ahead with development in February 2007, commissioning and production commenced in June 2009.