Upward gold trend at Fort Knox continues
Rising gold production expected to continue for 2021, beyond North of 60 Mining News – November 12, 2021
Last updated 11/18/2021 at 3:56pm
Kinross Gold Corp. Nov. 10 reported the new Barnes Creek heap leach pad and higher-grade ore being fed into the mill is contributing to a continuing trend of increasing gold production at its Fort Knox gold mine about 25 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska.
During the third quarter of 2021, Fort Knox produced 71,482 ounces of gold, which is nearly a 13% increase over the 63,302 oz produced during the second quarter and about a 28% jump over the 55,815 oz produced during the first three months of 2021.
Kinross says more gold recovered from the heap leach pads, higher mill grades, and increased mill throughput contributed to the most recent quarterly increase in gold output.
During the third quarter of 2021, 6.4 million metric tons of ore averaging 0.20 grams per metric ton gold was stacked on the Barnes Creek heap leach pad at Fort Knox, compared to 5.5 million metric tons averaging 0.19 g/t gold stacked on the Walter Creek pad during the same period last year.
In addition, the mill at Fort Knox processed 2.2 million metric tons of ore averaging 0.77 g/t gold during the second quarter, compared to 2.7 million metric tons averaging 0.67 g/t gold processed during the same period last year.
Earlier this year, Kinross Gold Chief Technical Officer Paul Tomory said he expects gold production at Fort Knox to continue to increase as the year progresses, reaching nearly 80,000 oz in the fourth quarter.
Considering that Fort Knox produced 190,453 oz of gold through the first nine months of the year, this puts the gold mine on pace for around 270,000 oz for 2021.
This is expected to include the first gold produced from the Gil satellite pits about eight miles east of the mill.
Gil is the first mine to be developed under the Kinross Alaska strategy, which is leveraging the underutilized 14-million-metric-ton-per-year mill and storage capacity at Fort Knox to process higher-grade ore mined from projects within a roughly 300-mile radius of the gold operation.
It is currently expected that roughly 10 million metric tons of ore averaging 0.6 g/t (193,000 oz) of gold will be mined from Gil and trucked to the Fort Knox mill for processing. At current mill recovery rates, this ore is expected to contribute roughly 160,000 oz of gold to Fort Knox production over a span of about two years.
Kinross Alaska broke ground at Gil in late September and expects this satellite mine on the Fort Knox property to contribute to mill production before the end of the year.
Read more about the Gil Mine project and groundbreaking ceremony at Kinross Alaska breaks ground at Gil Mine in the October 1, 2021 edition of North of 60 Mining News.
Kinross said feasibility study work is proceeding well at Manh Choh, a high-grade gold deposit about 250 road miles southeast of Fort Knox.
Being advanced by the Peak Gold joint venture between Kinross (70%) and Contango ORE Inc. (30%), Manh Choh is the next project slated to deliver ore to the Kinross Alaska mill at Fort Knox.
Prior to this year's roughly $18 million program, Manh Choh hosted 9.2 million metric tons of measured and indicated resources averaging 4.08 grams per metric ton (1.21 million oz) gold and 14.19 g/t (4.2 million oz) silver in two adjacent deposits on the project.
Based on this resource, Kinross expects Manh Choh to contribute 1 million oz of gold-equivalent, which includes the value of both the gold and silver recovered, to the Kinross Alaska mill production over 4.5 years, or roughly 222,000 oz of gold-equivalent per year.
Kinross says the Manh Choh feasibility study is on schedule to be completed by the end of 2022, and production from this satellite operation is expected in 2024.