Coeur d'Alene Mines Corporation (NYSE:CDE) (TSX:CDM) (ASX:CXC) announced today that the Bureau of Land Management has issued a positive Decision Record for Coeur's Rochester Mine in Nevada to extend silver and gold mining operations by several years with new production ounces expected to begin being recovered in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Work on the construction of a new leach pad and related infrastructure is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2011 with capital costs estimated to total approximately $29 million in 2011 and $38 million over the life of the project. This extension will increase total average annual silver and gold production to over 2.4 million ounces and 35,000 gold ounces over several years. This production profile represents a substantial increase compared to current expected annual production levels through 2014 of 700,000 ounces and 5,000 ounces of silver and gold, respectively, from existing residual leaching operations.
At the beginning of 2010, Rochester contained proven and probable reserves measuring 25.9 million ounces of silver and 232,000 ounces of gold. A recently completed and updated feasibility study on the expansion plan includes 27.6 million contained ounces of silver and 247,000 contained ounces of gold within 48.3 million leach tons at average grades of 0.57 ounces of silver per ton and 0.005 ounces of gold per ton, based on metal prices of $1,205 per ounce of gold and $16.25 per ounce of silver. Expected cash flow and production is incremental to the ounces and cash flow currently being generated by ongoing residual leaching activities.
The expansion is expected to add approximately 200 jobs, providing a boost to the Nevada economy. In addition, the mine recently received awards from the Nevada Mining Association and the Mine Safety and Health Administration for safe operations. The mine currently has exceeded 1,224 days without a lost-time accident.
Rochester's 2010 production forecast is expected to be 2.0 million silver ounces and 10,000 gold ounces at an average cash cost of approximately $3.00 per silver ounce.
Rochester has produced over 127.6 million ounces of silver and over 1.4 million ounces of gold in its 25 years of operations.
Source: Coeur d'Alene Mines Corporation