Kinross Provides Updates on Bald Mountain, Tasiast and Maricunga
Kinross is focused on developing two sets of deposits at Bald Mountain: the Vantage Complex and Yankee pits in the South area and the Saga and Duke pits in the North area. Developing these deposits has the potential to substantially increase Bald Mountain’s current reserve estimate of 1.1 million oz of gold and to extend the mine’s life.
At Tasiast, Kinross resumed normal mining and processing operations in mid-August, following a temporary suspension caused by an expatriate work-permit issue. The company has also awarded two major construction contracts for earthworks and concrete works for the Tasiast Phase One expansion project. Kinross and the government of Mauritania resolved the expatriate work permit issue as part of reaching a mutually acceptable “Mauritanization” plan to increase the number of local workers who have the necessary skills and experience to work at Tasiast, a requirement under Mauritanian law.
At Maricunga, Kinross has suspended mining and curtailed processing operations. The cutbacks were implemented after a judicial decision concluded that the Chilean environmental regulatory authority’s (SMA’s) revised June 24 sanction was enforceable. The sanction, among other things, substantially reduced water pumping at Maricunga.
Kinross said it continues to oppose the SMA’s actions and has various appeals pending with Chile’s Environmental Tribunal.
The Atacama Region, where Maricunga is located, has suffered from a protracted drought for many years, resulting in a drop in groundwater levels across the region that is unrelated to the mine’s operations. As a result of the suspension, Kinross is reducing its mining and crushing workforce at Maricunga by approximately 300 employees. The company will continue to explore further permitting efforts and review the operation and its mineral resource model to consider possible options for re-starting mining.
At December 31, 2015, the Maricunga mine had estimated proven and probable mineral reserves of 1.042 million oz, estimated measured and indicated mineral resources of 4.275 million oz, and estimated inferred mineral resources of 1.053 million oz of gold.
The suspension at Maricunga is not expected to affect Kinross’s 2016 production and cost guidance, which stands at 2.7 million to 2.9 million gold equivalent oz produced at all-in sustaining costs of $890 to $990/oz.