Nevada Gold Mines (NGM) is demonstrating the impact of operator and majority-owner Barrick’s strategy of combining the best people with the best assets to deliver the best returns, says Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow.
Speaking at an update for local media and community leaders, Bristow said NGM – the world’s largest gold mining complex – stood out from the rest of the industry not only because of its size but because its wealth of projects and prospects secure its future as a high-quality, long-life operation for decades to come.
“The combination of the Nevada assets of Barrick and Newmont has unlocked the vast geological potential of this mineral-rich region by consolidating mines, processing facilities and landholdings. Anchored by the massive Carlin and Cortez mines, NGM is building up the third Tier One1 asset, Turquoise Ridge, while Goldrush, a world-class project in its own right, heads up a long pipeline of quality prospects,” he said.
“NGM has also built strong relations across the full spectrum of the mines’ previously neglected stakeholders, and its wide-ranging support for educational and other community development initiatives is securing its social licence as a valuable partner with Nevada and its people.”
Bristow cited Turquoise Ridge as an example of the transformative effect of asset consolidation. The high-grade underground orebody at Turquoise Ridge, then a Barrick property, was mined for years without a full understanding of its geology and was also constrained by the lack of its own processing plant.
At the same time, Newmont’s neighboring Twin Creeks was facing the decline of production from its open pits and its processing facilities had never been pushed to deliver. The ramp-up of underground production at Turquoise Ridge, based on a completely new geological model, will pick up speed when its third shaft is completed next year, more than offsetting the drop in production from the now-integrated Twin Creeks. The integration of the two assets has also delivered new exploration opportunities in the gap between the two.
During the past quarter, the Goldrush project’s official Notice of Intent was published, putting NGM well on the way to permitting its next major orebody. The updated feasibility study and the successful processing of the first ore samples has strengthened confidence that additional resources will be converted to reserves later this year.
NGM continued to optimize its portfolio through the South Arturo/Lone Tree asset swap, which removed a closure liability from its balance sheet while securing additional ounces and geological upside by bringing the other 40% of South Arturo under its control. In the meantime, brownfields exploration is confirming a significant upside through prospects such as a major deposit in North Leeville and the promising Phoenix gold and copper satellite.
Bristow says NGM was continuing to invest in infrastructure capable of supporting mining far into the future. This includes advancing data analysis capabilities and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. An example of the latter is the second phase of the TS solar power facility which will increase its solar capacity to 200MW and is the cornerstone of NGM’s commitment to cutting GHG emissions by 20% by 2025.
Reviewing the past quarter, Bristow said improved run times at all of NGM’s major processing facilities had lifted NGM’s performance while the restoration of the Carlin mill operations had set it up for a strong end to the year.