Allied Nevada suspended mining operations at its Hycroft open-pit, heap-leach gold-silver mine 54 km west of Winnemucca, Nevada, in early July. The company had filed for bankruptcy on March 10 but had continued full Hycroft operations (E&MJ, April 2015, p. 10). The July shutdown was accomplished to maximize cash flow and minimize spending through the remainder of the bankruptcy process.
Allied Nevada President and CEO Randy Buffington said, “The current metal price environment, cost pressures, and workforce challenges we have encountered over the last few months have adversely impacted our ability to meet our operating goals. This change, while unfortunate, is critical to getting the company through the bankruptcy process.”
The company does not have an expected time frame for the restart of mining operations, if at all.
Allied Nevada is continuing to produce gold and silver through operation of the Hycroft heap-leach pads and Merrill-Crowe processing plants. Inventory on the pads as of June 30 was approximately 260,000 recoverable oz of gold, sufficient to maintain metal production for 12 to 18 months. Production during 2014 totaled about 214,000 oz of gold and 1.2 million oz of silver.
Allied Nevada also intends to complete construction of and operate a 10-st/d mill demonstration plant for processing sulphide ores. The plant is expected to start up in September and will include all phases of the mill process flow sheet, from grinding and flotation through ambient alkaline oxidation and precious metals recovery.
The primary goal of the demonstration plant is to support a 2014 feasibility study regarding the potential construction of a mill to process the Hycroft property’s sulphide ores. The feasibility study assumed construction of a mill in two phases of 60,000 st/d each.