Newmont Mining reported year-end 2011 gold reserves of 98.8 million oz, up 5.6% during the year and a new record for the company.
The company also reported record copper reserves of 9.7 billion lb, an increase of 3.2% from 2010. Newmont had more than 125 exploration drill rigs active during 2011and recorded about 1.3 million m of drilling. The company had more than 150 active exploration projects during the year and will increase that number to175 projects in 2012.
Newmont’s reserves were calculated at metal prices of $1,200/oz gold and $3.00/lb copper.
North America was the largest contributor to Newmont’s higher gold and copper reserves in 2011, up 10% and 24%, respectively, as exploration activity drove increases in gold reserves at the Carlin, Phoenix, and Turquoise Ridge mines and copper reserves at Phoenix, all in Nevada. Turquoise Ridge is a 75% Barrick:25% Newmont joint venture, with Barrick as operator. Early stage exploration yielded encouraging results at Long Canyon, Leeville, Carlin mine area, Mike, Phoenix, and Fiber Line in Nevada, and the company is continuing to pursue these opportunities in 2012. The company also increased its land positions and advanced its target generation programs in Mexico, Alaska, and British Columbia/Yukon during 2011 and will continue these efforts as well completing some scout drilling in 2012.
Newmont has budgeted $369 million for attributable exploration spending during 2012, a 9% increase over 2011. North America, at about $138 million, will account for the largest portion of the company’s 2012 exploration spending, followed by Australia-Pacific (~$87 million), Africa (~$58 million), and South America (~$54 million). Approximately $32 million is allocated to other strategic programs. Of the total attributable exploration budget, approximately two-thirds is expected to be directed toward brownfields exploration activity, while approximately one-third will be spent on greenfields programs.