Kinross pours first gold bar at La Coipa mine in Chile

Toronto’s Kinross Gold (TSX:K; NYSE: KGC) has poured its first gold bar since the restart of mining at La Coipa 1,000 km […]
Kinross has poured its first gold bar at the restarted La Coipa mine and plant in Chile. Credit: Kinross Gold

Toronto’s Kinross Gold (TSX:K; NYSE: KGC) has poured its first gold bar since the restart of mining at La Coipa 1,000 km north of Santiago, Chile, in the Atacama region.

Commissioning the mine and mill began in early February, on schedule and under budget. The plant is expected to reach full capacity by mid-year. Annual production is expected to be about 250,000 oz.

Two years ago, Kinross gave the green light to the restart project at La Coipa. The project includes open pit mining, a leach pad, and a mineral processing plant. The existing plant was refurbished, and the mining fleet came from the Maricunga mine, which was recently placed on care and maintenance.

The La Coipa mine had proven and probable reserves of 18 million tonnes grading 1.6 g/t gold for 898,000 oz. contained gold at the end of 2021.

Also, at the end of last year, Kinross increased the La Coipa mine life by 45% to about 1 million oz. gold-equivalent annually by incorporating the nearby Puren pit into the plan and optimizing the Phase 7 mine plan. The life of the project was also extended to 2026 from 2024.

The company has its eye on the Lobo-Marte gold project 50 km from La Coipa, which would extend the project life to 2030 and beyond. The two projects would share infrastructure and equipment such as the water supply, processing plant and camp. Lobo-Marte has probable reserves of 160.7 million tonnes grading 0.7 g/t gold for 6.7 million contained ounces. The all-in sustaining cost of an ounce of gold from Lobo-Marte is only US$680 per ounce.

The La Coipa project will be supplied entirely with renewable power, in line with the company’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy.

Kinross completed the acquisition of Great Bear Resources in February, and, in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, announced it would suspend all operations in Russia, perhaps making a complete exit from the country.

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