Newmont’s Merian mine hits 1 million ounce milestone

Two years after commercial production began in October 2016, Newmont Mining’s (NYSE: NEM) Merian mine in Suriname has poured one million ounces of gold.

Newmont Suriname — a subsidiary of the Colorado-based company — owns 75% of the mine and Suriname’s state-owned oil company, Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname, owns the remaining 25% stake.

Construction of the mine, about 60 km south of Moengo and 15 km west of the Marowijne River, started in August 2014, and was completed for about US$525 million — about 20% under budget.

Merian has an estimated mine life of 15 years based on current reserves but the company is exploring on other parts of the property.

The mine’s cash costs this year are about US$455-495 per oz. and all-in sustaining costs US$580-630 per oz.

Earlier this year Newmont wrapped up the second phase of the project, building a primary crusher to process harder ores that will be recovered as the mine gets deeper.

Ninety-five percent of the workforce is Surinamese.

Newmont contributes US$1 per gold ounce sold from Merian to a foundation it created for the local Pamaka community near the mine that is dedicated to projects such as potable water, hydroponics training and electricity generation.

Suriname sits on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America and is bordered by French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west and Brazil to the south.

The country was colonized by the Dutch in the late 17th century and its plantation economy was based on African slaves and indentured labourers from Asia. Suriname became independent in November 1975. A majority of the population still speaks Dutch.