Tarkwa gold mine - Brief history

Sinking of the Abontiakoon vertical shaft was completed in 1935 and a central mill with a capacity of 30ktpm was constructed in the following four years. Several small mining companies operated the Abontiakoon concession, but in 1960 all workings were abandoned and allowed to flood.

In 1961, production restarted under the State Gold Mining Corporation and in 1963 the Tarkwa mines were renamed Tarkwa Goldfields Limited. The Apinto Shaft was sunk in the mid-seventies.

GFG signed a management contract with the Ghanaian Government to operate the mine in 1993, and in 1996 completed a feasibility study on an open pit/heap leach operation. In 1998, the initial Tarkwa Phase 1 development was completed for an open pit operation mining 14.5Mtpa, including 4.7Mtpa of heap leach feed ore. In 1999, the Tarkwa Phase 2 expansion was completed to increase the mining rate to 20.7Mtpa and heap leach feed ore production to 7.2Mtpa. All underground operations and the associated processing plant ceased production in this year. In 2000, GFG acquired the northern area of Teberebie and mining production was increased to 36Mtpa.

Tarkwa implemented owner mining in July 2004 and commissioned a CIL plant with a nameplate capacity of 4.2Mtpa in October 2004. The expanded CIL plant was commissioned in January 2009 and a design throughput of 12.3Mtpa was achieved in September 2009. Conversion to owner maintenance was completed in 2010.

In 2011, GFG acquired the 18.9% IAMGold interest in Tarkwa and now holds 90%, with the remaining 10% is held by the Ghanaian Government. At the end of 2013, all heap leach operations ceased.

The CIL plant capacity was increased to 13.5Mtpa late in 2014 and further enhancements to increase the capacity to 15.5Mtpa are being considered.