Kinross eyes expansions at its new gold mines in Nevada

Kinross Gold completed the acquisition of Bald Mountain (pictured) earlier this year. (Image from archives)

Canada’s Kinross (TSX:G) (NYSE:KGC), the world’s fifth largest gold producer, believes it can increase reserves at its Bald Mountain and Round Mountain mines, which it acquired from Barrick Gold (TSX, NYSE:ABX) late last year.

The company, which is looking to strengthen its portfolio in North America, has increased its exploration budget for the year by 50% to $9 million as “promising results” at Bald Mountain have “reaffirmed Kinross’ confidence in the site’s significant upside potential,” it said in a market update ahead of an analysts tour this week.

At Bald Mountain, Kinross believes it can increase current mineral reserve estimate and extend expected mine life by developing two sets of deposits in the near term.

Kinross, which operates two mines in Russia and also owns the problem-plagued Tasiast operation in Mauritania, also see great potential in its other Nevada-based mien — Round Mountain. Here the firm continues with an improvement initiative launched in 2014 aimed at enhancing heap leach performance. This process solution management heap leach program is expected to produce approximately 200,000 to 230,000 gold-equivalent ounces over the life of the mine at a low cost of $200 to $400 per gold-equivalent ounce, which includes production cost of sales and capital expenditures, Kinross said.

The company recently completed a scoping study for a potential expansion at Round Mountain known as “Phase W,” which added approximately 2.4 million gold ounces to the estimated inferred mineral resource.

The Toronto-based miner was already the operator of the Round Mountain mine when it bought the other half from Barrick. As part of that deal, which also saw Kinross acquiring neighbouring Bald Mountain, the two companies formed a joint venture to explore a large land package on the property.

The company noted that the permitting process to allow expansion of exploration and mining activities is entering its final days of completion with no substantive issues remaining. The permit covers the expanded mine plan, numerous under-explored pits (including the Vantage Complex and Yankee, another promising target in the South area), and provides significant flexibility for future growth, such as allowing for extensive heap leach capacity.