Goldcorp Forecasts 70% Production Increase by 2017

In its year-end 2012 production update and forecast, Goldcorp reported that it expects to increase its gold production by about 70% over the next five years from about 2.39 million oz in 2012 to between 4 mil-lion and 4.2 million oz in 2017. New pro-jects will make significant contributions to this growth, with first gold production fore-cast for Cerro Negro, Argentina in late 2013; Éléonore, Quebec, in late 2014; Cochenour, Ontario, in the first half of 2015; and Camino Rojo, Mexico, in 2016.

The Cerro Negro project in Santa Cruz province Argentina remains on track for first gold production in late 2013. Gold production is expected to average 525,000 oz/y during the mine’s first five full years of production, and cash costs are expected to average less than $350/oz.

At year-end 2012, underground ramp development of the Eureka vein at Cerro Negro had advanced to more than 2,100 m of the total 3,900 m planned. The Eureka stockpile contained an estimated 40,300 mt at an estimated grade of 11.1 g/mt gold and 204 g/mt silver. Along with the Eureka vein, the Mariana Central and Mariana Norte veins will provide the initial production at Cerro Negro, where work on the production ramps continues to progress on schedule.

Overall engineering, procurement and construction management at Cerro Negro was 55% complete at year-end.

Significant cost inflation in Argentina, country factors, and overall cost escalation have increased the initial estimated capital expenditure at Cerro Negro to $1.35 billion in current dollars.

At Éléonore, first gold production remains on track for late 2014. At full pro-duction, the mine will produce approximately 600,000 oz/y of gold.

Sinking of the Éléonore production shaft began in December 2012. Under-ground exploration drilling from the recent-ly-completed Gaumond exploration shaft will accelerate in 2013, enabling further definition drilling of the deep portion of the Roberto deposit to proceed.

The Éléonore exploration ramp contin-ues to advance and has reached more than 2,500 m in length. Currently, four diamond drills are conducting definition drilling from strategic working platforms in the ramp.

Work to date indicates an increase in initial capital for Éléonore development to $1.75 billion in current dollars due to additional permitting required related to water treatment, as well as overall project cost escalation. Ongoing work with regard to mine planning and initial development capital is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2013 and may result in a further increase to initial capital.

At Cochenour, construction of the 5-km haulage drift to connect the Cochenour shaft to the Red Lake mine on the 5100 level advanced to 68% complete at the end of 2012, with expected completion by the end of the first quarter of 2014. Upon completion, the drift will enable ore from the Cochenour/Bruce Channel deposit to be hauled directly to the Red Lake mine for processing at the existing mill facilities.

A study of the overall Cochenour project has concluded that the center of the Bruce Channel orebody is lower than previously expected, necessitating the deepening of the Cochenour shaft by 245 m. This has resulted in a scope change expected to increase the initial capital spend to $540 million in current dollars and to move first gold production into the first half of 2015. Following ramp-up to full production, forecast life-of-mine gold production from Cochenour is expected to be in the range of 225,000 to 250,000 oz/y.

Goldcorp completed a study of its Camino Rojo gold-silver project 50 km southeast of its Peñasquito mine in Zacatecas state, Mexico, during 2012. The study contemplates a heap leach facility to process near-surface oxide and transition mineralization. The study demonstrated strong financial returns but does not con-sider recent positive exploration results in the sulphide portions of the deposit.

Until Goldcorp more thoroughly under-stands the sulphide opportunity, it is defer-ring development and construction of the heap leach facility. Work will continue in 2013 on exploration, permitting and met-allurgical testing.

The Camino Rojo project area includes the Represa deposit, which contains meas-ured and indicated resources of 2.8 million oz of gold and 52.6 million oz of silver.

As featured in Womp 2013 Vol 02 -