Paracatu, Brazil Toronto-based KINROSS GOLD expects joint venture partner and operator Anglo-Australian mining group RIO TINTO to make a decision at the end of the first quarter or early in the second of this year on a US$70-million expansion project at its Morro do Ouro gold mine in Minas Gerais state, executives said during a conference call.
The plan calls for producing 300,000 oz of gold a year for the first five years after completion and is essential for maintaining the mine's production profile and cost basis due to the hardening of the ore, said Kinross.
Kinross holds a 49% stake in Morro do Ouro, forecast to produce 205,000 oz of gold this year. The mine accounts for about 8% of Brazil's yearly gold production.
At its advanced-stage Gurupi exploration project in northeast Brazil, Kinross plans to upgrade resources into reserves and complete a feasibility study in 2004, the company said. To date, an inferred resource of 2.7 million oz of gold has been identified on the 75,000-ha property, focused on two deposits, Chega Tudo and Cipoeiro, from 360 core and reverse circulation drill holes.
Kinross has a global exploration budget this year of US$20 million.