- Sunrise Dam
- Tropicana (70%)
Our operations in Australia
AngloGold Ashanti owns the Sunrise Dam and Tropicana gold mines in the north-eastern goldfields of Western Australia. Sunrise Dam is wholly-owned, while Tropicana is a joint venture between AngloGold Ashanti (manager with 70%) and Regis Resources Ltd (30%). Together, these operations produced an attributable 538,000oz in 2022 (2021: 494,000oz) contributing 19% to total production.
At the end of 2022, the Australian operations accounted for 2.6Moz (8%) of the total Mineral Reserve and 10.0Moz (8%) of the total Mineral Resource.
The Australian operations employed an average of 1,532 people in 2022 (2021:1,332) people, of whom 1,218 (2021:1,044) were contractors, in 2022.
- Gold production at Tropicana increased by 15% year-on-year due to higher grades and volumes processed, which contributed to an 11% improvement in total cash costs
- A pre-feasibility study (PFS) was initiated at Tropicana on the underground mineralisation at Havana, following completion of a scoping study
- The FP programme identified opportunities at Sunrise Dam to extend mine life, improve underground productivity and lift metallurgical recovery
- Sunrise Dam’s Total Recorded Injury Frequency Rate more than halved year-on-year
- Severe skills shortages and COVID-related employee absenteeism placed pressure on productivity and mining efficiency at both Australian sites
- Inflation impacted costs with significant increases in diesel costs, in particular
- Increased run-of-mine are fed from Sunrise Dam to displace plant feed from low-grade stockpiles
Performance summary 2022
- Production for the year was 538,000oz at a total cash cost of $1,157/oz, compared to 494,000oz at a total cash cost of $1,196/oz for the year ended 31 December 2021
- The all-in sustaining cost decreased to $1,345/oz (2021: $1,500/oz)
- Regional capital expenditure rose to $202m (2021: $184m) and was spent as follows: Sunrise Dam $50m (2021: $62m); Tropicana $152m (2021: $122m)
- Safety performance improved – there were no occupational fatalities at Company-operated mines and a TRIFR, of 3.82 per million hours worked was recorded (2021: 6.59)
- Regional community investment amounted to $0.98m (2021: $1.01m)
- Sunrise Dam and Tropicana are certified under the Cyanide Code, ISO 45000 (health and safety) and ISO 14001 (environmental management)
Production from the Australia region increased by 9% in 2022 with production at Sunrise Dam up by 1% and at Tropicana by 15%.
The skills shortages and COVID-related absenteeism that were a feature of 2020 and 2021 persisted into 2022, placing ongoing pressure on productivity and mining efficiency.
At Sunrise Dam the labour issues that impacted the underground mine in the first half of the year, reducing tonnes mined, were offset by ore from the short-life Golden Delicious satellite pit, which decreased the need to supplement mill feed with low grade stockpiled ore.
Mine productivity improved in the second half with initiatives to drive development in priority headings and improve spatial compliance. This, along with the change to firing once every 24 hours and the conversion of the underground workshop to enable jumbo servicing, mitigated some of the production losses of the first half. The mine finished the year with production of 232,000 oz, up 1% on 2021.
The total cash cost of $1,402/oz for the year ended 31 December 2022 compared to $1,321/oz for the year ended 31 December 2021.
At Tropicana, labour shortages and equipment reliability impacted waste stripping in the Havana cutback, which has the potential to push peak ore production from the Havana open pit from 2025 into 2026. Operational measures are in place to pull back this deficit in waste stripping.
The Boston Shaker underground mine performed well, hitting targeted ore production of 1.4Mtpa. The Tropicana underground mine, which began production at year end, will lift underground ore production to approximately 2Mtpa.
A combination of higher ore volumes processed and higher recovered grades enabled Tropicana to lift gold production to 306,000 oz at a total cash cost of $881/oz for the year ended 31 December 2022, compared to 265,000oz at a total cash cost of $987/oz for the year ended 31 December 2021.
For performance data by operation, see <OP>
Outlook for 2023
- Sunrise Dam will continue to focus on lifting underground ore production from an annualised rate of 2.6Mtpa to 3.0Mtpa through productivity improvements identified in the FP Programme. These include an underground workshop to lift jumbo utilisation and improvements to planning and scheduling, which together will support an increase in underground volumes
- A potential cut back of the Cleo open pit was identified during 2022 and a pre-feasibility study initiated to study the complex interaction between the potential open pit cut-back and the underground mine. The cutback could yield up to 20Mt of ore at 1.7g/t. The PFS will continue during 2023
- At Tropicana, a PFS on mining the underground mineralisation at Havana was underway at year end. The PFS is assessing the most economical way to access the ore, either via a dedicated decline from the Havana pit, or via the “Havana Link Drive” from the current Tropicana decline. The Havana Link Drive has the potential to provide a drilling platform to access high grade mineralisation between Tropicana and Havana, and potentially early access to the Havana underground. The PFS will be completed in 2023