Canadian gold miner Kinross Gold has announced that it is proceeding with the La Coipa restart project in Chile, while a prefeasibility study at the nearby Lobo-Mare project remains on track to be completed by mid-year.
The La Coipa restart project will require a capital investment of $225-million, with prestripping expected to start late this year. About $45-million of the initial capital costs would be spent this year and the balance next year.
Production is expected to start in the first quarter of next year, with a feasibility study forecasting the openpit to produce about 690 000 gold-equivalent ounces (GEO) from 2022 to 2024.
The feasibility study calculates that La Coipa will generate an internal rate of return of 28% and net present value of $118-million, based on prices of $1 200/oz of gold and $17/oz of silver.
The study contemplates using the existing infrastructure to mine the Phase 7 deposit. The company then plans to start Lobo-Marte production after the conclusion of mining at Phase 7 and to pursue other potential opportunities at La Coipa.
A scoping study for Lobo-Marte indicates that the project could produce about 4.1-million ounces of gold, at 1.2 g/t, over a ten-year mine life. The initial estimate for capital is $750-million, with a three-year construction timeline after project approval.
Besides the Chile projects, Kinross’s development pipeline also includes the Tasiast 24k project, in Mauritania, the new Chulbatkan project, in Russia, and the Fort Knox Gilmore project, in Alaska.
The Tasiast 24k project is advancing and remains on budget and on schedule to increase throughput capacity to 21 000 t/d by the end of 2021 and then 24 000 t/d by mid-2023. At Fort Knox Gilmore, the project is on schedule to start stacking on the new heap leach pad in the fourth quarter of 2020.
CEO Paul Rollinson said that the company was excited about its newly acquired high-quality Chulbatkan project, which would be a substantial openpit, heap leach mine.
“The project has a strong base case and good upside potential, and we have a substantial drilling programme planned for 2020 with the goal of adding to its resource estimate by year-end,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Kinross added 7.7-million ounces to its measured and indicated mineral resources in 2019 – a 28% year-on-year increase. This was mainly owing to the acquisition of Chulbatkan, and additions of 1.2-million gold ounces at Lobo-Marte, 1.1–million ounces at Paracatu, 568 000 oz at Bald Mountain and 553 000 oz at Round Mountain.
Paracatu, in Brazil, added 828 000 oz to mineral reserve estimates, more than offsetting depletion in 2019.