Cortez Mine Continues To Deliver Strong Performance
TORONTO, ON - Barrick Gold Corporation reported that the Cortez mine in the first half of 2013 produced 760,000 ounces of gold. Proven and probable mineral reserves were 15.1 million ounces of gold.
The Cortez mine is located 100 kilometers southwest of Elko, Nevada in Lander County. The Cortez Pipeline property is 11 kilometers northwest and the Cortez Pediment property (which includes the Cortez Hills deposit) is 4 kilometers southeast of the original Cortez milling complex. The Pipeline and South Pipeline deposits are mined by conventional open-pit methods. The Cortez property covers approximately 2,800 square kilometers.
Cortez employs three different metallurgical processes to recover gold. Lower-grade oxide ore is heap leached, while higher-grade non-refractory ore is treated in a conventional mill using cyanidation and a carbon-in-leach (“CIL”) process. Heap leached ore is hauled directly to leach pads for gold recovery. Carbonaceous mill ore is mined intermittently during the mining of the Pipeline/South Pipeline deposits.
The Cortez Hills underground mine is accessed by twin de-clines portaled in the old Cortez Gold F canyon pit. The breccia ore zone employs underhand cut and fill mining methods with cemented rock fill as backfill. The top cut of the underground mine will eventually be the bottom bench of the Cortez Hills open pit.
The company also reported a second quarter net loss of $8.56 billion, reflecting $8.7 billion in after-tax impairment charges largely driven by significant decreases in long-term metal price assumptions following the sharp declines in spot prices in the second quarter. The total charge is comprised of: $5.1 billion for the Pascua-Lama project, $2.3 billion in goodwill impairments and $1.3 billion in other asset impairment charges.
"We are pleased with our second quarter operating performance and our improved 2013 guidance. These results reflect the high quality of Barrick's portfolio of assets and our increasingly effective efforts at controlling costs. We are disappointed with the impairment charges for Pascua-Lama and other assets but are confident that these assets, some with mine lives in excess of 25 years, will generate substantially more economic benefits over time," said Jamie Sokalsky, Barrick's President and CEO.
Barrick's comprehensive cost reductions and high quality asset base provide the company with significant operational flexibility. Its group of five key mines - Cortez, Goldstrike, Pueblo Viejo, Veladero and Lagunas Norte - are expected to generate some 60 percent of 2013 production at all-in sustaining costs (AISC) of $650-$700 per ounce. An additional seven mines have AISC below $1,000 per ounce, bringing the total amount of expected 2013 production with costs below this level to about 75 percent.
For the remaining operations with expected 2013 AISC above $1,000 per ounce, the company will either change mine plans, suspend, close or divest these assets to improve cash flow. Actions currently being considered as part of an ongoing process include: Bald Mountain (US) - mine plan changes to reduce the number of pits and focus on the most profitable ounces, while retaining the option to access other ore in the future; Round Mountain and Marigold - working with our joint venture partners to optimize mine plans; Hemlo (Canada) - defer the open pit expansion and optimize the underground mine plan; Porgera (Papua New Guinea) - evaluate mine plan changes and explore other alternatives; Plutonic, Yilgarn South (Australia) - optimize the mine plans and/or divest; African Barrick Gold (ABG) (Tanzania) - finalizing a detailed operational review to aggressively optimize mine plans and improve operations; Pierina (Peru) - assessing closure options.
We are developing mine plans to maximize cash flows at every mine. The outcome of this process could have an impact on our year-end 2013 proven and probable reserves and expected future production levels; however, where possible, we will maintain the option to access the metal in the future.
The comapny’s address is Brookfield Place, TD Canada Trust Tower, 161 Bay Street, Suite 3700, P.O. Box 212, Toronto, ON M5J 2S1.