Newmont Mining Corp. will soon commence the first phase of its Long Canyon gold mine in northeastern Nevada, the company said April 8.
The first phase, which consists of an open pit mine and heap leach operation, is expected to produce between 100,000 ounces and 150,000 ounces of gold over an eight-year period, the Denver-based publicly traded company said.
Once in operation, Long Canyon Phase 1 is expected to directly employ 260 people. First commercial production is expected in the first half of 2017.
“Taking a phased approach to developing Long Canyon gave us the means to lower development capital to between $250 million and $300 million,” Gary Goldberg, Newmont’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
In recent years, gold mine operators have chosen to pursue smaller, phased projects after being hit with weaker gold prices and cost overruns on mine construction.
“I’m confident we have the engineering, ore body knowledge and community agreements in place to deliver this project safely, on time and on budget,” said Goldberg.
The mine site is about 30 miles east of Wells on the eastern side of the Pequop Mountain Range in Elko County and about five miles south of Interstate 80 at the Oasis exit.
Newmont acquired the Long Canyon property in 2011 from Vancouver-based explorer Fronteer Gold for $2.3 billion.
Federal and state permits necessary to proceed with development of the project have been secured following a 36-month study and public comment period.
Long Canyon, which is less than 100 miles from Newmont’s existing Nevada operations, is forecast to produce gold at a low all-in sustaining cost of between $500 and $600 an ounce, the company said.
At current gold prices, the project is expected to generate around $100 million in pre-tax earnings a year, starting in 2017, Newmont said.
The gold price was last trading at nearly $1,200 an ounce.