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Marigold life of mine plan demonstrates significant gold potential

Published by , Assistant Editor
Global Mining Review,

SSR Mining Inc. (SSR Mining) has shared the results of an updated life of mine plan for its Marigold mine in Nevada (USA). This life of mine plan consisted of an evaluation of a sustained mining rate from the additional haul trucks added in 2016 and 2018 as well as year-end 2017 Mineral Reserves, for over ten years of mining to 2028.

President and CEO of SSR Mining, Paul Benson, said: "This life of mine plan builds on our exploration success and Operational Excellence track record at Marigold. Annual gold production is forecast to exceed 265 000 oz in 2021 and 2022, a more than 30% increase over 2017. The new reserve supports mining for over ten years and gold production for 15 years, with significant resources and exploration potential existing beyond the currently defined reserves.”

Marigold opened in 1989 and next year will celebrate its 30th year of continuous operation.

Marigold Life of Mine Plan Highlights

(Technical data are presented with an effective date of 31 December 2017 unless otherwise noted.)

  • Robust economics: After-tax net present value of US$552 million based on a US$1300/oz gold price, a 5% discount rate and the 2017 year-end Mineral Reserves. 
  • Large gold reserve base in Nevada: Mineral Reserves of 3.2 million oz of gold for over ten years of mining to 2028 and gold production through to 2032. 
  • Near-term production growth: Average annual production for the period 2019 to 2020 increases to 218 000 oz of gold, in-line with the 5-Year Outlook announced in 2016. 
  • Increased production scale: Average annual production is 236 000 oz of gold in the first six years, with peak gold production of more than 265 000 oz of gold in 2021 and 2022. 
  • Competitive life of mine cost position: Life of mine cash costs of US$730 per payable ounce of gold and all-in sustaining costs of US$966 per payable ounce of gold. 
  • Low capital intensity: Capital expenditures of US$284 million or US$120/oz of gold over the life of mine. 
  • Potential for further mine life extension: Incremental Indicated Mineral Resources of 2.5 million oz of gold provides potential to extend mine life or increase annual production. 

Marigold Project Overview

The Marigold mine is located in southeastern Humboldt County, in the northern foothills of the Battle Mountain Range of Nevada, U.S. The mine is situated approximately 5 km south-southwest of the town of Valmy, Nevada via a public road emanating from Interstate Highway 80 approximately 325 km east of Reno. The Marigold mine currently encompasses approximately 10 570 ha. We hold a 100% interest in the Marigold mine through our wholly-owned subsidiary, Marigold Mining Company. The mine has been in continuous production since 1989.

Mining and Processing

Marigold uses an opencast mining method with a current mining rate of approximately 200 000 tpd, expected to increase beginning 2019 to an annual average of over 225 000 tpd through 2028. The property undertakes conventional drilling and blasting activities to liberate ore and waste. Mining is conducted on 50-foot (15.2 m) benches for pre-stripping waste and 25-foot (7.6 m) benches for ore. Loading operations take place with three loading shovels. In February 2018, we approved the purchase of four additional 300 t class haul trucks for expected service in the third quarter of 2018, which will expand our truck fleet to 25 - 300 t class haul trucks. 

The Marigold processing plant and facilities operate using standard industry run-of-mine heap leaching, carbon adsorption, carbon desorption and electro-winning circuits to produce a final precious metal product in the form of doré. All processing of ore, which is oxide in nature, is completed via run-of-mine heap leach pads, and is a cost-effective method to recover gold. Waste is hauled to locations near mining pits to minimise haulage costs. Ore is delivered to the leach pads and stacked in 40 ft (12.2 m) lifts. In 2018, we expect to complete the construction of an additional leach pad and pumping upgrades, in-line with previous guidance.

Based on the growth of Mineral Reserves since 2014 and updated operating assumptions encompassing the additional haul trucks purchased in 2016 and 2018, the Marigold mine is expected to produce in excess of 235 000 oz of gold per year on average over the first six years in the updated life of mine plan. Peak production exceeds 265 000 oz of gold in both 2021 and 2022. 

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