Kinross Gold Corp.’s Nevada operations showed strong, consistent results in the third quarter of 2018, with expansion projects underway at both open pit gold mines and a recent purchase that makes the company the owner of the largest private mining land package in the U.S, the company reported in its financial results.
“During the first nine months of 2018, our global portfolio of mines achieved solid production and generated robust cash flow,” said J. Paul Rollinson, Kinross president and CEO in a Nov. 7 statement. “Our Nevada, Brazil, Ghana and Russia operations performed well during the quarter and we remain on track to meet our company-wide production and cost guidance for the year.”
The two Nevada operations contributed to the company’s third-quarter results, “both of which have delivered strong and consistent results in the first nine months of the year,” said Lauren Roberts, Kinross chief operating officer, in a conference call with investors.
At Bald Mountain in White Pine County, production was down year-over-year mainly due to fewer tons and lower grade ore placed on the heap leach pads, and was in line quarter-over-quarter. Gold sales were higher compared with the previous quarter and year-over-year mainly due to timing of sales. Cost of sales per ounce sold decreased year-over-year as a result of less operating waste mined and was higher quarter-over-quarter mainly due to an increase in operating waste mined.
The Bald Mountain Vantage Complex project is on schedule and on budget, the company reported, with commissioning expected to begin in 2019. The expansion initiates construction at the south end of the property. Kinross has begun stripping and stacking economic but previously leached material, is building new infrastructure, and working toward commissioning a new heap leach pad and processing facility in the first quarter of 2019. The mine has also been one of the company’s exploration priorities this year.
The company purchased the remaining 50 percent interest of the Bald Mountain exploration joint venture from Barrick Gold Corp. in October. The agreement was for $15.5 million in cash and a 1.25 percent net smelter royalty.
“We now own 100 percent of the Bald Mountain property and continue to be encouraged by the exploration potential at what is the largest private mining land package in the United States,” said Paul Tomory, Kinross chief technical officer, on the call with investors.
Round Mountain in Smokey Valley continued its consistent performance, with production in line and cost of sales per ounce sold lower compared with the previous quarter, mainly due to a decrease in operating waste mined and the timing of ounces processed through the mill. Production was lower and cost of sales per ounce sold was higher year-over-year primarily due to lower mill grade, as the mine achieved the highest mill grades since 2003 during Q3 2017.
The site experienced a wall failure in the southwest corner of the pit, which the company does not expect to significantly impact production or the Phase W expansion project.
“[B]ut as we do with all of our large open pits, we are monitoring the situation closely,” Roberts said.
The Phase W expansion is expected to extend production to 2027. The company is nearing completion of a carbon-in-column plant, has started construction of a new heap leach pad and is progressing on construction of infrastructure including a truck shop, wash bay and fueling area. Prestripping has begun, and Kinross expects to encounter the initial phase of ore in 2019.
Also at Round Mountain, the company celebrated pouring the 15th million ounce produced since the count began in 1983. Roberts called it “a rare achievement among gold mines in the world.”
Kinross also operates the Fort Knox mine in Alaska, Paracatu mine in Brazil, two mines in West Africa, and two mines in Russia. The company is also considering re-entering operations in Chile.
Among Kinross’ eight projects nationwide, production totaled more than 586,000 gold equivalent ounces in the third quarter with sales exceeding production. Operations generated $143 million in adjusted operating cash flow, and adjusted net earnings equaled a loss of $48 million or 4 cents per share. The loss was mainly due to lower margins and an increase in income tax expense. Capital expenditures totaled $276 million, and liquidity was $2 billion.