Newmont Mining Corp. plans to build a $1 billion gold mine in Suriname as the company continues to look for ways to reduce operating costs following the metal’s decline.
The Merian project will produce 300,000 to 400,000 oz/year and is expected to start up in late 2016, company said in a statement. The mine’s forecast costs in the first five years are $750 to $850/oz, as much as 29 percent less than Newmont’s total average in the second quarter of this year.
The approval marks the first for a gold project of its size since gold’s 28 percent plunge last year spurred producers to rein in spending, delay expansions and sell less profitable assets to shore up their balance sheets. Newmont has sold smaller assets in Nevada and Australia, as well as holdings in Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. and Paladin Energy Ltd.
Newmont said it plans to fund its share of Merian’s development costs through available cash balances and projected cash flows. The government of Suriname has an option to earn a 25 percent fully funded equity ownership stake, according to the statement.
Newmont also reported a second-quarter profit excluding a tax-valuation allowance and other one-time items of 20 cents a share. That compared with the 19-cent average of 18 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 13 percent to $1.77 billion, less than the $1.79 billion average estimate.
The company increased its forecast for gold production this year to 4.7 million to 5 million ounces, from a previous range of 4.6 million to 4.9 million ounces, and said costs will be lower than previously forecast.
Newmont’s average cost in the second quarter was $1,063 an ounce of gold, compared with $1,283 a year earlier and the $1,135 average of three estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Second-quarter gold output rose to 1.22 million ounces, compared with 1.17 million a year earlier and the 1.15 million average of four estimates. Newmont also produced 20,200 metric tons of copper in the period.