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United States gold mine production increased sharply by 10% month-on-month to 22,000 kilograms (kg) in December while its last year production advanced 4% to 239,000 kg, according to a data released by United States G..

07 Mar 2012

NEW YORK (Commodity Online): United States gold mine production increased sharply by 10% month-on-month to 22,000 kilograms (kg) in December while its last year production advanced 4% to 239,000 kg, according to a data released by United States Geological Survey (USGS) in March.

According to USGS, the average daily gold production for US mines was 711 kg in December, compared with 668 kilograms per day (kg/d) for November and 656 kg/d for the full year 2011. Production in Nevada, which accounted for 74% of the total domestic gold production, increased by almost 7% while production from other States declined.

The average Engelhard gold price was $1,649.50 per troy ounce for December, a 6% decrease compared with the average gold price in November. The gold price began the month at $1,755.63 per troy ounce, the highest level of the month, and then fell to $1,534.25 per troy ounce on December 29, the lowest level of the month, before ending the month at $1,575.82 per troy ounce. The average annual price rose by 28% to a record-high of $1,574 per troy ounce in 2011.

A second feasibility study on Barrick Gold Corp.’s (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) and NovaGold Resources Inc.’s (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) joint-venture Donlin gold project in southwestern Alaska was released. The $6.7 billion project estimate, which was lower than the original $7 billion estimate, included $834 million for a 500-kilometer natural gas pipeline and $984 million in contingencies. The proposed open pit operations would have a 27-year mine life and would produce an average of 34,200 kg of gold per year at an average cash cost of $585 per troy ounce of gold (NovaGold Resources Inc., 2011).

In 2011, Barrick produced 98,100 kg of gold from its operations in the United States; this was 10% more than that in 2010. A 24% increase in production from the Cortez operations was the main reason for this increase. In 2011, Barrick restarted gold production from the Golden Sunlight Mine in Montana after an extended development phase. Except for the Goldstrike operation, which produced 12% less gold in 2011 compared with that in 2010, all Barrick operations produced more gold in 2011 (Barrick Gold Corp., 2012).

High Desert Gold Corp. (Vancouver) reported an initial resource estimate for the Jumbo zone at Gold Springs goldsilver project near the Nevada-Utah border. Using a 0.3-gramof- gold-equivalent-per-metric-ton cutoff, inferred resources were estimated to be 9.38 million metric tons (Mt) of ore at a grade of 0.57 gram per metric ton (g/t) of gold and 12.9 g/t silver for a contained resource of 5,390 kg of gold and 121,000 kg of silver (High Desert Gold Corp., 2011).

Fire River Gold Corp. (Vancouver) suspended operations at its Nixon Fork gold operations in western Alaska on December 10 for 4 days because severe weather prevented aircraft from landing for almost 2 weeks. The company reported updated indicated hardrock resources of 129,000 metric tons (t) of ore averaging 24.9 g/t gold and containing 3,220 kg of gold. The mine also has inferred hardrock resources of 54,000 t of ore averaging 28 g/t and containing 1,510 kg of gold (Fire River Gold Corp. 2011a, b).

International Minerals Corp. (Scottsdale, AZ) announced results of an independent preliminary economic assessment on the Converse gold deposit in northern Nevada. The base-case for the project was for a 14-year mine life processing 217 Mt of ore having an average grade of 0.52 g/t gold and 3.9 g/t silver and producing 67,500 kg of gold and 263,000 kg of silver. The total cash operating cost was estimated to be $745 per troy ounce of gold produced with silver as a byproduct credit, and the initial capital cost was estimated to be $455 million (International Minerals Corp., 2011).

Lincoln Mining Corp. (Vancouver) released the preliminary economic assessment for its Pine Grove project in Lyon County, NV. The proposed open-pit and heap leach operations would have a mine life of 6 years and a total production of 3,380 kg of gold. The total capital cost was $27.4 million. At a 0.22 g/t cut off grade, total measured and indicated resources at the Pine Grove project were estimated to be 6.06 Mt at a grade of 1.06 g/t of gold for a contained resource of 6,340 kg of gold (Lincoln Mining Corp., 2011).

Freegold Ventures Ltd. (Vancouver) released updated resource estimates on the Golden Summit project near Fairbanks, AK. The Dolphin zone contains indicated resources of 14.84 Mt of ore having an average grade of 0.66 g/t of gold and contains 9,830 kg of gold. The Dolphin zone has additional inferred resources of 50.5 Mt of ore averaging 0.61 g/t gold and contains 30,800 kg of gold (Freegold Ventures Ltd., 2011).

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