Canada-based Kinross Gold is evaluating the potential for a return to long-term production in Chile and has completed the scoping study for the Lobo-Marte project, in the Maricunga district, about 80 km from its La Coipa mine.
The scoping study results indicate that Lobo-Marte could produce about 4.1-million ounces of gold, at 1.2 g/t, over a ten-year mine life, Kinross said this week.
The initial estimate for capital is $750-million, with a three-year construction timeline after project approval.
The study contemplates a heap leach and sulphidisation, acidification, recycling and thickening (SART) plant operation. Kinross has previously leveraged SART technology in the region.
Kinross said it would advance Lobo-Marte to a prefeasibility study (PFS), which would be completed by the middle of next year.
The company is also continuing work on the restart feasibility study for the La Coipa project, which would be completed in the third quarter. Mining of the existing orebody at La Coipa was suspended in late 2013.
Production at Lobo-Marte will start at the end of the La Coipa mine life.
Besides the Chile projects, Kinross’ development pipeline also includes the Round Mountain Phase W and Bald Mountain Vantage Complex projects, in Nevada, which are entering their commissioning phases. The Gilmore expansion at Fort Knox, in Alaska, is also under way, with stripping to start in the third quarter and initial ore expected in early 2020.
Kinross is also evaluating alternatives for increasing throughput at Tasiast, in Mauritania.
The alternative options for Tasiast include an initial incremental step to increase throughput to above 20 000 t/d at a significantly lower capital cost through debottlenecking, continuous improvement and further optimisation of the current processing circuit.
Since the Phase 1 expansion at Tasiast, which boosted capacity from 8 000 t/d to 12 000 t/d, the mine has outperformed with throughput averaging about 15 000 t/d in the first quarter of 2019.
The company added that it was advancing project financing for Tasiast, as due diligence activities and discussions regarding commercial terms continued to progress. Kinross is seeking to obtain $300-million in financing from Export Development Canada, the International Financial Corporation, and two commercial banks, and is targeting completion of the financing in the second half of 2019.
Meanwhile, Kinross reported lower production of 606 031 attributable gold-equivalent ounces (GEO) in the first quarter of 2019, compared with 653 937 GEO in the same quarter a year earlier.
Cost of sales increased slightly to $682/GEO, from $658/oz in the first quarter of 2018, and all-in sustaining costs increased to $925/GEO, from $846/GEO.
The miner realised revenue of $786.2-million in the March 2019 quarter, compared with $897.2-million, as fewer GEOs were sold and prices were lower.
Adjusted net earnings were $83.3-million, or $0.07 a share, compared with $125.2 million, or $0.10 a share, a year earlier.
Net earnings dropped sharply to 64.7-million, or $0.05 a share, for the March quarter, from $106.1-million, or $0.09 a share, in the comparative period. The decrease was mainly attributed to lower operating earnings, partially offset by a decrease in income tax expense.