Northern Nevada remains highly prospective for new gold discoveries and is “far from being a mature gold district”, Barrick Gold CEO Mark Bristow said in a news release on Monday.
Barrick-operated Nevada Gold Mines (NGM) in the region is a joint venture between the company (61.5%) and rival Newmont (38.5%).
According to Bristow, its Fourmile mine is expected to more than triple its current mineral resource of 0.48 million ounces at 10.04 g/t indicated in addition to 2.7 million ounces at 10.1g/t inferred.
Bristow said operational highlights of the past year included a record production by the post-merger Cortez and the continuing turnaround at Turquoise Ridge.
“The most significant development, however, was the completion of the Goldrush permitting process at the end of 2023. This enabled Cortez to accelerate the development of a key project which will already make a significant production contribution this year,” he added.
The underground mine is expected to start ramping up production in 2024 after the commissioning of the initial project infrastructure and is forecast to produce 130,000 ounces in 2024 and grow to approximately 400,000 ounces per annum by 2028.
Barrick and NGM have invested more than $370 million in the project.
“The complex now boasts a production growth profile that goes well beyond 10 years as the geologists step up the replacement of the ounces depleted by mining,” Bristow said.
NGM completed the commissioning of the first 100 megawatt phase of its solar power project in the last quarter of 2023, with the second 100 megawatt scheduled to come on stream in the second half of this year.
Last year, Barrick’s gold output hit its lowest level since 2000 following a series of setbacks across its operations.
Maintenance and repair work at its Nevada mines, an expansion at Pueblo Viejo in the Dominican Republic and a prolonged shutdown at a major asset in Papua New Guinea all contributed to a 23-year low in total bullion ounces for the world’s second-largest gold miner.
Investors will be seeking insight into this year’s production outlook when the Canadian metals producer reports fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday.
(With files from Bloomberg)