Hod Maden is an underground copper and gold mine planned to be developed in the Artvin province, Turkey. The project is being developed by Artmin Madencilik, a joint venture between the operator Lidya Madencilik (70%) and Sandstorm Gold (30%).

A pre-feasibility study (PFS) for the project was completed in May 2018. It predicted annual production of 200,000 ounces (oz) of gold and 12,600 tonnes (t) of copper over an estimated mine life of 13 years, with a capital investment of £204m ($271m).

The environmental impact assessment for the project was completed in the first half of 2019, while a feasibility study was initiated in the second quarter of 2019. The study is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2020.

First production from the Hod Maden gold-copper mine is expected in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Location, geology and mineralisation

The Hod Maden copper-gold property is situated in eastern Turkey near the border with Georgia. It lies approximately 50km away from the Artvin city and 130km away from the Erzurum city.

The project area encompasses 7,394ha within the Eastern Pontides tectonic belt that extends along the south-eastern Black Sea coastline of Turkey.

The mineralisation of the Hod Maden ore body is characterised by sub-volcanic, high-sulphidation epithermal polymetallic zones.

The main zone of the deposit features high-sulphide mineralisation, while the southern zone, which is located roughly 300m south of the main zone, possesses gold-copper mineralisation pre-dominantly hosted in dacitic volcanic rocks and breccias.

Hod Maden copper and gold reserves

The Hod Maden project is estimated to hold 9.1 million tonnes (Mt) of proven and probable reserves grading 8.9g/t gold and 1.4% copper.

The underground mine is estimated to contain 2.6 million ounces (Moz) of gold and 129,000t of copper.

Mining method for the  Hod Maden project

Underground mining techniques involving long hole open stoping (LHOS) and paste backfill methods will be employed for the Hod Maden copper-gold project.

Ore will be extracted from the main mineralisation zone followed by the southern zone. Transverse LHOS will be employed for mining at the main zone, while longitudinal LHOS will be used for ore extraction at the southern zone.

The mining fleet will comprise electric-hydraulic twin-boom jumbo drills, top hammer longhole drills, diesel-powered load haul dump (LHD) machines, mechanised bolters, and shotcrete machines, as well as haul tracks to bring the ore materials to surface.

Ore processing

The run-of-the-mine (ROM) ore will be trucked to a nearby processing plant, where it will undergo crushing, two-stage grinding, floatation, concentrate thickening, and filtration for the recovery of copper and gold.

The throughput capacity of the Hod Maden ore processing plant will be 900,000 tonnes per annum (tpa). The plant’s gold and copper recovery rates are expected to be 77.1% and 94.2%, respectively.

The concentrates produced at the plant will be packed in bags and transported to the warehouse at the Hopa Port in flat-bed trucks.

The floatation tailings from the storage tanks at the processing plant will be pumped-back through a dedicated centrifugal slurry pump and mixed with cement for reuse as paste backfill in the underground.

Infrastructure at Hod Maden mine

The Hod Maden project site will be accessed through an all-weather road connecting the main Artvin- Erzurum highway. The access road will run along the Salicor Valley and will involve a 2.3km tunnel.

The electricity will be sourced from an existing 154kV main transmission line that runs across the mine area. A step-down substation will be built near the transmission line from where electricity will be supplied to three main switchboards near the processing plant, the mining area, and the accommodation camp.

The processing plant is estimated to require 1,200m³ of water a day, which will be facilitated through mine dewatering as well as water harvesting at the Salicor and Maden creeks.

Contractors involved

AMC Consultants, GR Engineering Services (GRES), and Hacettepe Mineral Teknolojileri (HMT) were engaged for the preparation of the PFS for the Hod Maden copper-gold project.

The feasibility study contract for the project has also been awarded to GRES and AMC Consultants.