Coeur brings Jualin, Silvertip mines online
Last updated 1/25/2019 at 5am
Coeur Mining Inc. Jan. 14 reported that its Kensington Mine produced 113,778 ounces of gold in 2018, falling short of the 115,000 to 120,000 oz the company anticipated from the Southeast Alaska operation. Coeur said lower-than-expected grades throughout the first nine months of the year was the primary reason Kensington fell short of the company's gold production guidance.
During the fourth quarter, the Kensington Mine produced 35,335 oz of gold, 32 percent more gold than was produced in the third quarter and the highest quarterly production in five years.
Coeur said the increased production during the final three months of 2018 is largely due to the start of commercial production from the Jualin Mine.
The Kensington property hosts two historical mines that date back to the dawn of the 20th Century –Kensington and Jualin.
So far, Coeur has focused on mining ore from the Kensington area. Going into 2018 this area hosted 520,000 oz gold in 2.67 million tons of proven and probable reserves averaging 0.195 oz per ton.
In comparison, the roughly 23,000 tons of development ore and 3,000 tons of stope ore mined from Jualin during the fourth quarter averaged roughly 0.40 oz per ton gold, contributing nearly 10,500 oz to the fourth quarter production, demonstrating the impact that high-grade mill feed can have on the overall profile of Kensington.
The increased production during the final three months of 2017 was primarily due to the processing of higher-grade ore from the Raven zone at Kensington. This ore helped push the average grade processed at Kensington to 0.22 oz per ton, a 29 percent increase over the 0.17 oz/t processed during the third quarter.
Coeur Mining's Silvertip Mine in northern British Columbia produced 341,000 oz of silver, 6.78 million pounds of zinc and 3.91 million lb of lead during 2018.
The newest mine in Coeur's portfolio, Silvertip achieved commercial production on Sept. 1 and produced 142,000 oz of its 2018 silver in final quarter.
When Coeur bought Silvertip at the end of 2017, the northern B.C. mine was designed and permitted to operate at 750 metric tons per day.
Since the start of production in March, Coeur has steadily been ramping Silvertip up to this capacity. During the first two weeks of 2019, the mill at Silvertip processed an average of 695 metric tons per day.
"We have made substantial progress over the past fourteen months since acquiring Silvertip and will carry that momentum into 2019," said Coeur Mining President and CEO Mitchell Krebs.
As operations continue to ramp up, Coeur remains focused on improvements in four key areas: mill projects targeting higher availability; maintenance procedures and systems; supply chain and procurement; and employee training and development.
The next step at Silvertip is to complete the upgrades and acquire the permits needed to ramp the mill up to 1,000 metric tons per day.
The company has been working closely with regulators and said it remains on track to receive approval of the permit amendment application to expand mill throughput in early 2019.
Coeur's five operations – Kensington, Silvertip, Palmarejo (Mexico), Rochester (Nevada) and Wharf (South Dakota) – produced 12.9 million oz of silver, 367,728 oz of gold, 6.78 million lb of zinc and 3.91 million lb of lead during 2018.