Goldcorp anticipates that commercial production from the underground portion of its  Cerro Negro gold mine will begin by the end of 2014. (Photo courtesy Goldcorp)

Goldcorp anticipates that commercial production from the underground portion of its
Cerro Negro gold mine will begin by the end of 2014. (Photo courtesy Goldcorp)

Goldcorp poured the first doré bar at its new Cerro Negro gold mine in Santa Cruz province, Argentina, on July 25. The bar weighed approximately 100 kg and contained an estimated 317 oz of gold. Goldcorp expects to declare commercial production at the mine before year-end 2014.

Gold production from Cerro Negro during 2014 is forecast to be in the range of 130,000 to 180,000 oz. Annual production during the first five years of full operations is scheduled to exceed 500,000 oz/y. Initial capital costs to develop the project are forecast to come in between $1.6 billion and $1.7 billion.

The Cerro Negro project is based on a high-grade vein system, with a land position of 215 km2. The project's proven and probable gold reserves as of December 31, 2013, totaled 5.74 million oz.

Initial Cerro Negro production is primarily from underground mining of three veins: Eureka, Mariana Central and Mariana Norte. A small surface-mining operation on portions of veins at Eureka started at the end of 2013 and continued during the first quarter of 2014. Surface diamond drilling is expanding the potential for this mining to continue and provide supplemental ore for the mill.

Goldcorp President and CEO Chuck Jeannes said, "We are very pleased to have first production on schedule and within our current capital cost guidance range from this world-class mine. Very importantly, this achievement was reached safely, with Cerro Negro in the midst of a run of more than 4.1 million man hours without a lost-time accident.

"This milestone signals not only the start of Cerro Negro's mine life but also a period of sustained growth for Goldcorp. The team at Cerro Negro has done an outstanding job amid occasionally challenging circumstances, and I congratulate them for this outstanding effort. We look forward to strong contributions from Cerro Negro to Goldcorp's overall performance for many years to come."

Other major projects in the Goldcorp development pipeline include the Éléonore project in Québec, where production is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2014, and the Cochenour project in the Red Lake district of Ontario, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2015. When these mines reach full production, Éléonore will produce about 600,000 oz/y of gold, and Cochenour will produce between 225,000 and 250,000 oz/y of gold.

Goldcorp produced 2.7 million oz of gold in 2013 from mines in Mexico, Canada and the Dominican Republic. Company-wide production during 2014 is forecast to be in the range of 2.95 million to 3.10 million oz.

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