Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE: NEM) today announced it increased attributable gold reserves by 1.7 million ounces to 93.5 million ounces in 2010.
- Attributable gold reserves of 93.5 million ounces, an increase of 2% from 2009;
- Average grade of gold reserves unchanged from 2009 at 0.029 ounces per ton;
- Record attributable copper reserves of 9.4 billion pounds, an increase of 3% from 2009; and
- Reserves calculated at $950 per ounce and $2.50 per pound, respectively.
Attributable gold Measured and Indicated non-reserve mineralization ("NRM")(1) for 2010 was 1.3 billion tons at an average grade of 0.019 ounces per ton, up from 1.1 billion tons at an average grade of 0.020 ounces per ton for 2009. In addition, attributable gold Inferred NRM was 504 million tons at an average grade of 0.026 ounces per ton. Attributable copper Measured and Indicated NRM for 2010 was 849 million tons at an average grade of 0.15%, up from 796 million tons at a grade of 0.17% from 2009. In addition, attributable copper Inferred NRM was 390 million tons at an average grade of 0.15%. Gold and copper NRM were calculated using prices of $1,150 per ounce and $3.00 per pound, respectively.
North America was the largest contributor to higher gold reserves in 2010, with significant additions at Leeville-Turf, Twin Creeks, Phoenix and La Herradura. Other significant reserve additions were at Tanami in the Asia Pacific region and at Ahafo in the Africa region. North America also had the largest contribution to NRM, with significant additions at Greater Gold Quarry, Leeville-Turf, Buffalo Valley and Twin Creeks. Initial NRM was declared at the Merian project in Suriname. Other significant contributors to NRM included KCGM and Tanami in the Asia Pacific region.
For 2011, Newmont has budgeted $360 million (on a consolidated basis, including capitalized expenditures) for its exploration program, an increase of approximately 44% from 2010. The significant increase allows for accelerated exploration in all regions including at Leeville-Turf and Hope Bay in North America, Merian and Yanacocha Sulfides in South America, and Elang in Asia Pacific.
Exploration Expenditure ($ Million)
"We are proud of our recent exploration efforts delivering significant organic additions to our reserves," said Guy Lansdown, EVP of Discovery & Development. "These results have encouraged us to significantly increase our exploration spending in 2011. We believe our global portfolio of land positions offers considerable opportunity for continued reserve growth in our operating districts through the drill bit. Additionally, our generative exploration activities continue to allow us to look beyond current geographies into exciting new opportunities."
Near-Mine Exploration: 2010 Highlights and 2011 Planned Activity
Newmont's 2010 Near Mine Exploration program produced strong results from more than 100 drill rigs and one million meters of drilling. Results spanned the breadth of the resource pipeline, including replacement of depleted reserves from the drill bit. Newmont's resource pipeline is well-positioned for aggressive development in 2011 with a 44% budget increase, which will allow Newmont to aggressively develop known targets, determine the full extent of emerging targets, test the viability of new early stage projects and explore for new discoveries.
Highlights of the 2010 Near-Mine Exploration Program
- Leeville-Turf: Reserves and NRM were added through an extensive surface and underground drilling campaign;
- Subika Expansion: An underground exploration drift was initiated in 2010 and advanced to 2,635 meters, while open pit reserves increased by 1.1 Moz; and
- Merian: Initial NRM of 1.8 Moz was added in Suriname. A mineral agreement is currently being negotiated.
At the Leeville-Turf underground mine, 59.5 km of combined surface and underground drilling contributed to expansion of reserves and NRM in 2010. Underground programs added 364 core holes with positive outcomes adding 1.8 Moz of attributable reserves, 0.6 Moz of NRM and expanded known mineralization in all directions. Following the discovery of ore-grade mineralization up to 1 km from existing workings in early 2010, $25 million was added to the exploration budget for 20 km of deep surface exploration drilling (as deep as 1,200 meters) up to 2.4 kilometers north of the Turf orebody. Drill intercepts located approximately 450 and 2,700 meters north of the Turf workings encountered 9 m of 14.6 g/t and 10 m of 14 g/t, respectively.
Greater Gold Quarry, Nevada
Expansion of the Greater Gold Quarry pit contributed to a 1.0 Moz attributable NRM addition in 2010 drawing from a 326 hole (59 km) drilling program and phased layback re-design. There is excellent potential to expand reserves of oxide and refractory ore at Gold Quarry as large-scale drilling programs will continue for at least the next 2-4 years.
Twin Creeks, Nevada
Drilling at Twin Creeks in 2010 included 74 holes (11.5 km). The program supported cutoff grade changes, pit re-designs and stockpile assignments that combined to add 1.4 Moz of attributable reserves and 0.44 Moz of attributable NRM.
Western Oxides, Peru
At Yanacocha in Peru, the Western District Oxides program at La Quinua Sur, El Tapado and Cerro Negro added 0.6 Moz of attributable reserves. Higher gold price, new metallurgical results and 89 holes drilled in 2008-2009 provided context for updated layback designs and reserve additions.
Based on a total of 179 km drilled in 1,494 holes over the life of the project and positive 2010 prefeasibility studies, 1.8 Moz of attributable NRM was added at the Merian project joint venture. In parallel, the Company is working to finalize a Mineral Agreement with the government of Suriname.
Subika Expansion, Ghana
At the Subika Expansion project, drilling of 28 km in 41 holes aimed at expanding underground and open pit mineral extensions, added 1.1 Moz of attributable open pit reserves in 2010. The calculation of underground NRM from 91 holes with 25 km of underground core drilling in 2010 will be confirmed through model and stope design updates in mid-2011. Concurrently, the exploration drift initiated in 2010 advanced 2,635 meters, vent raises were completed and initial test stope production is anticipated in early 2011. Completion of an underground pre-feasibility study is anticipated in the second quarter of 2011.
At the Tanami underground mine, the 2007 discovery of the Auron orebody and accelerated drill development has expanded 2010 attributable reserves by 0.7 Moz and attributable NRM by 1.1 Moz. Drill totals in 2010 added 51 km in 130 core holes. The Auron orebody sits stratigraphically beneath the Callie mine with potential to access ore from existing underground workings. Auron has potential to significantly expand mine life at Tanami. Drilling is designed to continue to prove continuity of this orebody and add resources in 2011.
Hope Bay, Nunavut (Canada)
At Hope Bay, underground drilling, drifting and preparation for test mining will continue in 2011 along with continued exploration of the belt for new discoveries. Overall drill productivity throughout Hope Bay will increase approximately 50% to an estimated 70-90 km in 2011. The program will focus on confirmation and expansion of known ore bodies plus exploration on the 90 currently identified district targets.
2011 New Near-Mine Activity
Higher metal prices combined with new drilling, metallurgical testing and study work in 2010 led to renewed evaluations on several projects with strong potential to advance in the resource portfolio. These include the Sleeping Giants (Mike, Fiberline, Copper Basin and Greater Phoenix) in Nevada, Yanacocha Verde in South America and Elang in Indonesia.
In 2010, a series of internal pre-scoping assessments were completed on the Sleeping Giants in Nevada to evaluate these assets in the context of current metal pricing, current global portfolio opportunities and approximately 20 km of new drilling information. Positive results on these efforts resulted in four of these very large assets advancing into scoping studies and further exploration as part of the early development pipeline.
Elang is a copper and gold porphyry deposit lying 60 km east of the Batu Hijau mine in Indonesia. Increased gold and copper prices enabled the Company to re-evaluate economic potential with positive preliminary results in an early-stage conceptual setting. Drill permits are approved for the deposit and a 6-10 km drill program is anticipated in 2011 to improve confidence in and possibly expand the consolidated 25 Moz gold and 16 Blb copper target (based on a 3rd party JORC-compliant resource estimate effective June 2010).
At the Yanacocha Verde project in Peru, exciting new metallurgical results may unlock gold and copper mineralization directly below the oxide deposits in the Yanacocha district. The exploration program is focused on quickly advancing to pilot-scale testing and resource conversion drilling.
Generative Exploration: 2010 Results and 2011 Planned Activity
In 2010, Newmont continued to position its Generative Exploration program in the top five percent most prospective geological domains worldwide, where the potential exists for district size opportunities. With a $50 million budget, the Generative Exploration program continued its success of finding and delivering district potential targets into the project pipeline as part of its commitment to organic growth.
- A new discovery with significant potential at Cassador(2) in Suriname, building on the previous discoveries at Merian and Saramacca and confirming the potential of the district;
- Highly promising early stage scout drilling results in the West African program;
- Generation of twenty quality targets with significant potential for the 2011 drilling program; and
- Further consolidation of land positions in Peru, Alaska and Mali.
The new discovery at Cassador in Suriname in the Guiana Shield is a good example of Newmont's successful exploration ventures in discovering and building the next mineral district. Limited exploration scout drilling to date confirmed the target potential over a 1 km strike length and down to a depth of approximately 200 meters. In addition, there is evidence from scout drilling that the mineralized system extends at least 3 km along strike; it contains a number of blind shoots parallel to the main structure and it extends for at least another 100 meters at depth with the system getting stronger. There are also a number of structures parallel to the main structure with encouraging soil geochemical and trench results.
Based on the size and quality of the current portfolio of undrilled targets the Company has increased the Generative Exploration budget to approximately $60 million in 2011, representing a 20% increase relative to 2010. Highlights of the 2011 program include:
- Further test the upside potential at Cassador in Suriname;
- Follow up on early stage promising results in West Africa;
- Drill test 15 to 20 quality targets totaling approximately 95,000 meters in PNG, Solomon Islands, Haiti, Peru and West Africa; and
- Generate 15 to 20 quality new targets to sustain a strong worldwide portfolio.
Source: Newmont Mining Corporation