RANKED: World’s top ten biggest gold projects – 2023
Gold mining companies have been grabbing headlines this year over a flurry of merger and acquisition (M&A) activities. The biggest deals in the gold sector include the world’s largest gold producer, Newmont, seeking to build a global gold superpower by approaching Australia’s Newcrest with a $17 billion takeover offer. Agnico Eagle Mines and Pan American Silver outbid Goldfields for Yamana Gold in a $4.8 billion transaction.
More gold mergers and acquisitions may be likely this year, and the M&A drive offers a path forward from a decade-long gold rut, analysts say.
To provide a snapshot of the potential of the world’s gold supply, the latest Mining Intelligence top ten list ranks the world’s largest gold projects by resource size, measured in millions of troy ounces (mozt).
Development status: Prefeasibility // Geology: Porphyry, Skarn
Seabridge Gold’s Kerr-Sulphurets Mitchell (KSM) project in British Columbia’s famed Golden Triangle is in first place with 154.05 (mozt). The $5.3 billion project hosts four mineral deposits and the preliminary economic assessment released in August 2022 outlines an underground block cave mining operation supplemented with a small open pit, planned to operate for 39 years. Last month, BC’s Tahltan Nation and Nisg̱a’a Nation forged a partnership to participate in the KSM project.
Development status: Preliminary Economic Assessment //Geology: Porphyry, Supergene Copper
After spending two years in the top spot, Northern Dynasty Minerals’ Pebble project in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska moves to second place. While the resource has 106.54 million troy ounces mozt of gold, the project has been plagued with controversy and environmental opposition over the years. It is unclear if the mine will eventually be developed, as the Biden administration banned the dumping of mining waste near Bristol Bay, issuing a decree that thwarts longstanding plans to extract gold, copper and molybdenum because of potential harm to the region’s thriving sockeye salmon industry.
#3 Sukhoi Log
Development status: Feasibility // Geology: Orogenic Gold
The Sukhoi Log deposit is in third place with 66.37 mozt, and is said to be the world’s largest by reserves. Russian miner Polyus bought the remaining stake in the giant deposit in Siberia from its project partner Rostec in a $128 million deal in 2020, and shortly after raised its investment forecast to $3.3 billion for the project that will double its production from 2027.
#4 Norte Abierto
Development status: Preliminary Economic Assessment // Geology: Epithermal, Porphyry, Epithermal – High Sulfidation
The Norte Abierto project in Chile, a joint venture between the world’s two top gold miners, Newmont and Barrick is in fourth place with 54.70 mozt. A Chilean environmental court last year ordered a new evaluation of the project due to concern that heavy traffic and water usage could disrupt life for the nearby indigenous community.
Development status: Permitting // Geology: Orogenic Gold
The Donlin project in Alaska is in fifth place with 45.04 mozt. Ajoint venture between Barrick and Novagold Resources, the owners are working on an updated feasibility study while drilling is ongoing.
#6 Reko Diq
Development status: Feasibility // Geology: Porphyry, supergene copper
The massive Reko Diq deposit in Pakistan takes sixth place after Barrick Gold resolved a long-running dispute with its Pakistani partners last year. As 50% owner, Barrick is planning to to invest $10 billion into the project, which is expected to have a life of more than 40 years. A feasibility study update is expected by the end of 2024, and the aim is to achieve first production by 2028.
Development status: Prefeasibility // Geology: Porphyry
In seventh place is Seabridge Gold’s Snowfield project in Northwestern British Columbia with 34.6 mozt. Seabridge acquired the Snowfield property in 2020 from Pretium Resources. Snowfield is adjacent to KSM’s Mitchell deposit and work has started on an updated PFS to incorporate Snowfield into KSM’s mine plan.
#8 Hu’u Onto
Development status: Advanced exploration // Geology: Porphyry
The Hu’u Onto project in Indonesia takes eighth place with 32.6 mozt of gold. The project is held by a joint venture between Vale (80%) and Indonesian mining company ANTAM (20%), which has been exploring the Hu’u property since 2010. Following the discovery of the world-class Onto copper-gold deposit in 2020, the project’s resource was significantly boosted.
#9 Tujuh Bukit
Development status: Prefeasibility. Geology: Porphyry
Also in Indonesia, in ninth place is PT Merdeka’s Tujuh Bukit project with 28.6 mozt. The project uses conventional open-pit mining with heap leach processing to produce up to 90,000 oz gold a year.
#10 Treaty Creek
Development status: Preliminary Economic Assessment. Geology: Porphyry, Volcanic Hosted Massive Sulphide
The Treaty Creek project in British Columbia rounds out the list with 24.5 mozt. Tudor Gold has a 60% interest in Treaty Creek; American Creek Resources and Teuton Resources each hold a 20% interest. The property is within BC’s Golden Triangle and borders Seabridge Gold’s KSM project to the southwest and Pretium Resources’ Brucejack property to the southeast.
More data is at Mining Intelligence.
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