Kinross Gold released operational updates for its Bald Mountain mine in Nevada, Tasiast mine in Mauritania and Maricunga mine in Chile. The company has received a record of decision for Bald Mountain from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to allow for increased exploration activities and the mine’s potential expansion. The decision will allow it to expand existing mine facilities and provide significant flexibility for future growth, such as additional heap-leach capacity and a carbon adsorption plant, beyond what is required in the current mine plan. The decision, among other exploration activities, will also allow Kinross to complete modest infill and metallurgical drilling.
The company 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 may substantially increase the estimated 1.1-million oz gold reserve at Bald Mountain and extend life of mine.
At Tasiast, Kinross resumed normal mining and processing operation in mid-August, following the temporary suspension caused by the expatriate work permit issue. Two major construction contracts regarding earthworks and concrete works have also been awarded for the Phase One expansion project. Working with the government of Mauritania, Kinross 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. As well, labor negotiations respecting the company’s collective labor agreement at Tasiast are expected to recommence in the next two weeks.
Kinross has suspended activities at Maricunga. The suspension was implemented earlier than planned after a judicial decision in Chile concluded that the country’s environmental regulatory authority’s (SMA) revised June 24 sanction was enforceable. The sanction, among other things, substantially reduced water pumping at Maricunga, which caused the mine to suspend mining and crushing activities and curtail processing at the end of July.
Kinross continues to vigorously oppose the SMA’s unprecedented actions and has various appeals pending with Chile’s Environmental Tribunal. The company disagrees with the original resolution on which the subsequent SMA orders are based, as it is technically and legally flawed and relies on contested scientific findings. Kinross said it is committed to responsible environmental management and has taken numerous measures and performed various studies over the years to understand the causes of the current situation and mitigate impacts of its water use.
As a result of the suspension, 300 miners at Maricunga will lose their jobs.