Newmont Mining Corporation has completed construction of the Merian gold mine in Suriname on time and more than $150 million or nearly 20 per cent below its initial development capital budget.
First gold was poured and Newmont declared commercial production on October 1, having achieved sustained average mill throughput of 80 per cent and gold recovery of more than 90 per cent over the last 30 days. Stockpiled ore represents nearly 160,000 contained ounces of gold.
Merian contains gold reserves of 5.1 million ounces and annual production is expected to average between 400,000 and 500,000 ounces of gold at competitive costs in the first five full years of production (100 per cent basis).
Costs are expected to be among the lowest in the portfolio, averaging between $575 and $675 per ounce in costs applicable to sales and between $650 and $750 per ounce in all-in sustaining costs in the first five years. Exploration has extended mine life from 11 to 13 years, and continues to identify further upside potential within Newmont’s 500,000 hectare Area of Interest, including a new discovery at Sabajo.
“We took an optimised approach to project development and benefitted from being one of the only gold producers investing in growth during the lower price cycle,” said Gary Goldberg, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our team built Merian safely, on schedule, and significantly below budget – and delivered our strategy to strengthen the portfolio by adding more than a decade of profitable production and creating a foothold in a prospective new gold district. This accomplishment is also the result of strong partnerships with the government and people of Suriname, and the extensive experience G-Mining brought to project development.”
The government of Suriname exercised its option to participate in a fully-funded 25 per cent equity ownership stake in Merian in November 2013. Suriname manages its participation through Staatsolie, a Surinamese corporation that is wholly owned by the government.
Merian will operate under the banner of Newmont Suriname and be managed as part of Newmont’s South America region in accordance with leading safety, technical, social and environmental standards. Its current workforce includes just over 1,100 employees, 20 per cent of whom are indigenous Pamakkans, and 200 contractors. The team has taken a proactive approach to minimising its environmental impact and engaged experts to inform its biodiversity offset programmes. Newmont also signed an agreement with the Pamakkan community that establishes local hiring and procurement targets, as well as a community development fund.
Merian is one of Newmont’s five self-funded growth projects – along with Long Canyon, expansions at Tanami and Carlin, and the recently completed expansion at Cripple Creek & Victor. Taken together, these projects are expected to add one million ounces of lower cost gold production over the next two years.
Newmont is a leading gold and copper producer with operations in the United States, Australia, Ghana, Peru, Indonesia and Suriname. Newmont is the only gold producer listed in the S&P 500 Index and was named the mining industry leader by the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index in 2015 and 2016. The Company is also an industry leader in value creation, supported by its leading technical, environmental, social and safety performance. Newmont was founded in 1921 and has been publicly traded since 1925.