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Fort Knox gold output slows during Q1

North of 60 Mining News - May 8, 2024

Kinross Gold Corp.

The Kinross Alaska mill at Fort Knox is currently being modified for the much higher-grade ore being trucked from Manh Choh for processing beginning shortly after midyear.

Less ore through the mill and lower grades impact production; Manh Choh remains on track for Q3.

Kinross Gold Corp. May 7 reported that its Fort Knox Mine in Alaska produced 53,350 ounces of gold during the first quarter of 2024, which is a 37% drop from the 84,215 oz produced during the previous three-month period and 18% lower than the 65,387 oz produced during the first quarter of 2023.

Due to the effects of cold weather on recoveries from the heap leach pad, a drop in gold production during the first quarter is an annual event at Fort Knox. Gold production tends to climb significantly throughout the year as the weather warms and heap leach recoveries improve at the Interior Alaska mine.

The drop in first-quarter gold production, when compared to the first three months of 2023, is due to both lower tonnage and grade of ore fed through the mill.

During the first quarter of this year, the Kinross Alaska mill at Fort Knox processed 1.85 million metric tons of ore averaging 0.67 grams per metric ton gold, compared to 1.97 million metric tons of ore averaging 0.78 g/t gold during the same period of 2023.

Crews, however, stacked 8.78 million metric tons of ore averaging 0.24 g/t gold on the Barnes Creek heap leach pad at Fort Knox during the first three months of this year, which is 47% more than the 5.97 million metric tons averaging 0.22 g/t gold during the same period last year.

The per-ounce cost of Fort Knox gold sold during the first quarter of this year was $1,466, approximately 14% higher than the $1,283/oz production cost of sales during the previous quarter and nearly 24% higher than the US$1,186/oz cost during the same period of 2023.

Manh Choh remains on track

Kinross also reports that the Manh Choh mine project in Alaska remains on track for first gold production in the second half of the year.

Being developed under a joint venture between Kinross (70%) and Contango ORE Inc. (30%), Manh Choh is a high-grade gold mine about 250 highway miles southeast of Fort Knox.

A feasibility study completed in 2022 details plans for trucking high-grade ore mined at Manh Choh to Fort Knox for processing through the Kinross Alaska mill.

The ore at Manh Choh averages 7.9 g/t gold, which is more than 11 times higher grade than what was fed through the Kinross Mill last quarter. As a result of processing the Manh Choh ore through the mill while continuing to stack lower-grade ore on the heap leach pad, production at Fort Knox is expected to climb to above 400,000 oz per year.

Kinross and Contango broke ground at Manh Choh in August of last year, and mining at the satellite project continues with the full fleet now in operation.

Following several months of orientation runs, transportation of Manh Choh ore to Fort Knox continues to ramp up.

At the Fort Knox site, mill modifications and site preparation remain on schedule for the start of processing Manh Choh ore shortly after midyear.

"We are ... looking forward to first production at Manh Choh early in the third quarter," said Kinross Gold President and CEO Paul Rollinson.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

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Over his more than 16 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.


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