Mining Explorers 2016: Kinross Gold Corp.
Last updated 2/3/2018 at 8:38pm
Kinross Gold Corp. celebrated two milestone events at its Fort Knox Mine in 2016, the seven-millionth-ounce of gold poured and the 20-year anniversary of this Interior Alaska operation. Seeking to extend its current operations with near-mine exploration is one of Kinross' primary objectives.
"Kinross' exploration is focused on brownfield projects around existing operations, and we continue to look for ways to further extend our operation," Fort Knox General Manager Eric Hill said. "We believe Alaska is an attractive mining jurisdiction and a good place to do business - we have successfully operated Fort Knox for 20 years, and the mine is now 12 years beyond our original plan."
When Kinross began mining at Fort Knox in 1996, the deposit had 4.1 million ounces of proven and probable gold reserves, enough to support the open-pit mine until 2008.
Going into 2016, the mine continues to boast 2.02 million oz. of gold contained in 147.32 million metric tons of reserves averaging 0.4 grams per metric ton gold.
According to a 2015 technical report, the mill portion of the operation would be phased out in 2017 and the last new ore would be stacked on the heap leach pad in 2019. Indications, however, are that a couple of years have been added to the life of the mine since that assessment.
Above and beyond the mineral reserves that support the current mine plan, the area in and immediately surrounding the open-pit at Fort Knox contained 95.82 million metric tons of measured and indicated resources averaging 0.5 g/t (1.42 million oz.) gold at the end of 2015. This is a significant increase to both the tonnage and grade, compared with 75.9 million metric tons of measured and indicated resources, averaging 0.37 g/t (912,000 oz.) gold available to the mine a year earlier.
While the economic viability of mining these resources have not yet been calculated, which could raise them to reserve status, the increased tonnage and grade is a good sign that the mill may keep churning out gold for a while longer.
The Gil gold property, located about five miles east of Fort Knox, and Gilmore, an area immediately west of the current mine plan are two such expansion targets.
The Gil gold property, located about five miles east of Fort Knox, is another source of potential ore to extend the life of the mine. Kinross, which had been participating in the exploration of Gil through a joint venture, purchased full ownership of this property adjacent to Fort Knox in 2011. According to the 2015 technical report for Fort Knox, Gil has 29.5 million metric tons of measured and indicated resources averaging 0.56 g/t (532,700 oz.) gold. Gilmore, an area immediately west of Fort Knox, is another prospect that could add to the mine's life.
This prospective expansion lies in an area previously withdrawn for use by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Since gaining authorization in 2014, Kinross has been carrying out exploration on these federal lands adjacent to the open-pit at Fort Knox.
About 80 miles (130 kilometers) northeast of Fort Knox, Kinross is quietly carrying out early-stage gold exploration at its PB and NPB claims in the Circle Mining District.
The company also owns the White Gold property about 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of Dawson City, Yukon Territory. A 2008 discovery at this property sparked the recent Yukon gold rush, and Kinross picked up the project in 2010. At the end of 2015, Kinross reported 9.8 million metric tons of indicated resources at White Gold averaging 2.67 g/t (840,000 ounces) gold, and 2.17 million metric tons of inferred resources at 1.79 g/t (125,000) ounces gold. This resource has remained unchanged in recent years.