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By Shane Lasley
Mining News 

Improved grades bolster Kensington gold

Extra gold recovered during relining of mill at Alaska mine


Last updated 4/23/2020 at 1:58pm

Scaling underground workings at Kensington gold mine in Southeast Alaska

Coeur Mining Inc.

Scaling underground workings at Kensington, an Alaska mine on pace to produce nearly 130,000 ounces of gold this year.

Coeur Mining Inc. April 22 announced increased gold production at Kensington, thanks to increased ore grades and recovery rates at this Southeast Alaska mine.

Kensington produced 32,022 ounces of gold during the first quarter, which is an 8% increase over the previous quarter and a 7% improvement over the first three months of 2019. This puts the mine on pace to produce more than 128,000 oz of gold this year, which at the upper end of Coeur's 2020 gold production guidance of 115,000 to 130,000 oz for Kensington.

The Southeast Alaska operation processed 162,341 tons of ore averaging 0.21 oz per ton gold during the quarter ending March 31. While the tonnage is down compared to the previous quarter, the grade is slightly higher.

While the grade is only marginally higher, the average recovery jumped from 87.2% during the final three months of 2019 to 93.5% for the first three months of this year. This improved recovery, however, is largely attributed to gold stuck in crevices in the ball mill that was liberated during a liner change.

Roughly 8% of the first quarter gold came from Jualin, a higher-grade deposit that reached commercial production late in 2018.

Jualin is now expected to account for rough 15 to 20% of Kensington's total production in 2020, largely due to infrastructure maintenance completed during the quarter, as well as changes to workforce rotations driven by COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Coeur invested $1.9 million into exploration at Kensington during the first quarter. This included one surface and two underground drill rigs focused on resource expansion drilling.

The underground rigs initially focused on the Jualin and lower Kensington Zone 10 veins and were moved to the Elmira vein later in the quarter. The surface rig was added to test Jualin veins 1 and 2.

In March, mining was classified as an essential business in Alaska, which has allowed Kensington to remain in operation.

In response to concerns related to COVID-19, rotational schedules at Kensington have been temporarily extended from 14 days to 28 days. Additionally, all employees are required to quarantine in a Juneau-based facility for 14 days prior to starting their 28-day rotation at the mine.

These precautions are part the measures Coeur is taking to limit and identify COVID-19 exposure and transmission.

Coeur's companywide COVID-19 initiatives include:

Travel and site access restricted to business-critical needs; discretionary travel strongly discouraged and must be reported.

Health and travel questionnaires as well as temperature checks required prior to entering company sites.

Increased cleaning and disinfecting of common areas.

Social distancing, including limiting meetings to ten people.

Extended rotational schedules at certain operations to reduce travel to and from site.

All site-level employees who can and all corporate headquarter employees are working remotely.

Providing ongoing support to local communities, including donations of critical supplies.

Partnering with local communities in communication and response efforts.

Coeur Mining President and CEO Mitchell Krebs

Mitchell Krebs

"Our top priority as we navigate the COVID-19 situation continues to be the health, safety and well-being of our workforce, their families, and the communities where we operate," said Coeur Mining President and CEO Mitchell Krebs.

In addition to protocols to safeguard the health of its employees and stakeholders, Coeur has evaluated its supply chain and metal sales risks at each operation and remains in close contact with critical vendors, customers, and transportation providers to establish back-up arrangements aimed at mitigating the impact of any disruptions related to COVID-19.

The company said it has not yet experienced any material disruptions and has incurred minimal additional operating costs related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

Over his more than 11 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (907) 726-1095


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