Barrick Gold Corporation (Chile), Minera Escondida Limitada
Chile’s gold production remained constant at 39 000 t in 2003, making it Latin America’s 3rd largest producer. It is also a major silver producer, producing over 1313 t of silver in 2000. Gold is produced a by product of several copper mining operations that form the backbone of Chile’s mining industry. However, there are several new gold mining operations being developed – notably Barrick’s Pascua – Lama – Veladero development along the El Indio Gold Belt on the border with Argentina. Construction is forecast to begin in late 2004. Pascua – Lama has proven and probable reserves estimated at over 17 Moz gold and 525 Moz silver. Annual production is anticipated at 800 000 oz gold and 20 Moz silver, making it one of South America’s largest gold mines.
The La Coipa silver – gold mine is operated by Compania Minera Mantos de Oro (MDO), a Chilean contractual mining company, which in turn is owned 50% by Placer Dome and 50% by TVX Newmont Americas. The joint venture is currently concentrating on the nearby Chimberos silver deposit, estimated to contain 4.8 Mt of ore grading at 305 g/t silver. La Coipa was Chile’s largest gold producer, producing over 200 000 oz per year at one stage. However, production has dropped due to concentrated extraction of the high grade Chimberos silver deposit.
Placer Dome, Arizona Star Resources and Bema Gold Corporation are developing the $ 1.3 billion Cerro Casale gold copper deposit that is anticipated to produce 1 Moz gold and 150 000t copper annually. The project has been put on hold pending an improvement in the bullion price. Studies on Cerro Casale indicate an 18 year open pit operation that will extract gold and silver from this low grade operation.
Meridian Gold has completed feasibility studies at its 100% owned El Penon deposit. Discovery of additional reserves from the nearby Quebrada Colorada deposit has extended reserves to contain 2.8 Moz gold. Meridian anticipates production at El Penon to total 300 000 oz in 2001.
Continuing low bullion prices coupled with poor peformance has forced Bema Gold (50%) and Kinross Gold (50%) to place the Refugio Mine under care and maintenance from mid 2001. Refugio is located in the Maricunga district of Chile’s Region III. The mine produced 170 000 oz gold in 2000 from proven and probable reserves of 38.3 Mt grading at 0.9 g/t gold. Stockpiles will be treated whilst the mine is placed on care and maintenance pending an improvement in the gold price. Refugio anticipates producing 122 000 oz gold in 2001.
The El Bronce or Petorca underground silver – gold mine is located in the foothills of the Andes at Petorca, approximately 145 km north of Santiago. The mine was owned by US based Coeur D’Alene Mines Corporation. The mine produced 64 000 oz silver and 29 000 oz gold in 1999, however operations have been suspended at the facility. Couer also operate the Fachinal silver – gold mine in Chile that produced 1.1 Moz silver and 25 000 oz gold in 1999. Couer intends disposing of these assets so that it an concentrate on its Cerro Bayo project, located close to Fachinal. Cerro Bayo is located in southern Chile and anticipates production from the combined open pit and underground operation to begin in May 2002. Production in 2002 is expected to reach 60 000 oz and climbing to 80 000 in 2003. Cash costs are expected to be below $150/oz.
Dayton Mining Corporation’s Andacollo operation has been shut down due to poor production and lower than expected gold prices. The operating company and wholly owned subsidiary of Andacollo, Compañia Minera Dayton Limitada, has been placed in liquidation.
Barrick Gold Corporation
Barrick is developing the Pascua – Lama gold deposit that straddles the border betwqeen Chile and Argentina. The company also has an interest in the Agua de la Felda gold mine.
Coeur d’Alene Mines Corporation
Coeur operates the Petorca and Fachinal silver – gold mines in Chile.
Kinross Gold Corporation
Placer Dome Inc.
Placer Dome has a 50% interest in the La Coipa gold – silver deposit located in northern Chile. Placer Dome has a 100% interest in the Zaldivar copper mine as well as 51% in the developing Cerro Casale gold – copper deposit.
TVX Newmont Americas
TVX Newmont has a 50% interest in the La Coipa copper – gold mine in Chile.