Growth of Sukari
The growth of Sukari's resources and reserves has been Centamin's primary focus to date.
In 2000, Sukari had resources of just 0.7 million ounces Measured and Indicated and 0.6 million ounces Inferred and today that number has grown by more than 11 times to 13.13 million ounces Measured and Indicated and 2.3 million ounces Inferred, plus reserves of 10.1 million ounces.
In 2011, our aim was to convert more of Sukari's Inferred resources into the Measured and Indicated category through the continued drilling of the hill.
The northern section of Sukari hill, which is called the Pharaoh Zone, is 1,345m above sea level. It is challenging to get drill rigs into this area, as the walls of the hill are steep and rugged. For this reason, the vast majority of Sukari's resources were contained in the central and southern portions of the hill. However the limited drilling that had been done showed that Pharaoh was highly mineralised and there was significant upside to our current resources and reserves to be found there.
In 2011, Centamin modified an incline diamond drill rig, which had previously been used underground, to allow access to Pharaoh. In Q1 2012 this rig will be joined by a second modified incline diamond drill rig and we are confident that the drilling results will add further ounces to Sukari's resources and reserves.
Centamin began the development of the underground mine in 2009. In Q2 2011 we reported our maiden underground reserve of 126,000t @ 11.9 g/t and reported our first underground production of approximately 15,000 ounces. In January 2012 we reported an updated underground reserve of 1.1 millions tonnes @ 16.3g/t (approximately 600,000 ounces of gold).
Definition drilling is ongoing underground and an exploration drive is being developed towards the Pharaoh Zone (the current underground mine is below the southern portion of the hill). This will allow Centamin to conduct a programme of underground-based resource and exploration diamond drilling to target the Sukari orebody at depth during 2012.