Gold & Base Metals
Ma'aden's gold and base metals business is carried out through Ma'aden Gold and Base Metals Company (MGBM), a wholly owned subsidiary of Ma'aden.
MGBM operates five gold mines in Saudi Arabia which have produced over 4 million ounces of gold since 1988. MGBM is developing a new gold province in the Central Arabian Gold Region (CAGR) and also carries out an extensive precious and base metals exploration development programme in Saudi Arabia.
Development of the CAGR has been challenging due to its remote location combined with limited availability of water to treat the ore. A new 500 km pipeline is being developed to bring treated wastewater from the municipality of Taif to the site of the planned gold mines. This innovative and environmentally sustainable solution is the first instance of the large scale use of treated waste water for industrial purposes in the Kingdom.
Mahd Ad Dahab Mine is located in Al Madinah Province in the western region of Saudi Arabia.
Mahd ad Dahab (which means Cradle of Gold) mine is one of the oldest mining sites in Saudi Arabia, with carbon dating of ancient slag indicating two separate periods of mining activity. The earliest was approximately 3,000 years ago whilst the later coincided with the expansion of Islamic culture during the reign of the Abbasid Caliphate (750 to 1258 AD).
Mahd recommenced commercial production in 1988 and is an underground mine with a total underground development in excess of 60 kilometers, extending to a depth of 300 meters. It comprises of an adit, by which men, material, ore and waste rock are transported. The mine has its own metallurgical processing plant on site to recover gold, silver, copper and zinc.
Bulghah mine is located in the Al Madinah Province, about 75 kilometers south of the Sukhaybarat metallurgical processing plant. It comprises an open pit mine, which mines lower grade ore (less than 1.0 gram per tonne of gold) for processing at the Bulghah heap leach processing facility. Higher grade ore is transported for processing at Sukhaybarat.
Bulghah was commissioned in October 2002. It is currently in a transitional phase as its high grade (oxidized) ore is depleted and future production will be increasingly dominated by lower grade transitional sulphide ores which have lower metallurgical recoveries than those achieved historically from ores previously mined at this site.
Sukhaybarat is in Al Qassim Province about 250 km north of Mahd Ad Dahab. Sukhaybarat now comprises a carbon-in-leach (CIL) processing plant only which processes ore transported form Bulghah Mine, 75 km to the South. Its open cut mining operation and its heap leach operations ended in 2003. The Sukhaybarat plant has a rated capacity of 600 ktpa and is planned to continue operations until 2014.
Process throughput at the Sukhaybarat Plant has increased since 2005 to reach a current annualized throughput of approximately 600 ktpa of ore. Ma'aden intends that Sukhaybarat Mine will focus on maximizing metallurgical recoveries with existing ore reserves expected to be fully depleted by 2013.
Al-Hajar mine is located in the southern region of Saudi Arabia, 710 kilometres southeast of Riyadh and comprises an open pit mine and heap leach facility, which was commissioned in 2001 and has a rated capacity of 750,000 tonnes of ore per year. Mining operations ceased in 2006 following the depletion of the open pit's ore reserves and operations are now limited to the reclaiming of gold stacked at the heap leach facility.
In 2005, Ma'aden commenced mining at Jadmah, a satellite deposit situated some 4km west of Al-Hajar which is now depleted. In 2006, Ma'aden completed a technical study investigating the potential for re-crushing existing stacked and leached material. In the third quarter of 2007, the re-crushing program commenced, and in September, resulted in the reprocessing of 0.85Mt of material grading at 1.1 g/t of gold up to 1 July 2007.
In 2011, Ma'aden commenced mining at Sheers, another small satellite deposit, which is expected to be mined out in 2012.
Al-Amar is in Ar Riyadh Province approximately 250km southwest of Riyadh. It comprises an underground mine which processes a gold rich polymetallic ore at a rate of 200 ktpa to produce gold in dore and copper and zinc rich concentrates which are sold to third parties for toll smelting. Commercial production was achieved January 2009.
As Suq is the site of ancient workings located approximately 365 km east-northeast of the city of Jeddah and about 20 km south-southeast of the Taif to Riyadh highway.
Ausenco has been awarded a contract to oversee construction of the open-pit mine and a Heap Leach (HL) and Adsorption Desorption Recovery (ADR) processing facility.
The Ad'Duwayhi Gold Project is located approximately 450 km SW of Riyadh, 450 km E/NE of Jeddah and 125 km SE of the town of Zalim. The prospect occupies approximately 1 km2 and consists in plan of a circular, sand wash-covered area partially surrounded by a number of hills rising some 50 m above the central basin floor between 950 and 970 m above sea level.
The Project involves an open pit gold mine and milling operations to produce a metal product on site that is then transported to Jeddah.