A spokesman for Newmont Mining Corp. said the company is looking for ways to prolong the life of its Boddington gold operation in Western Australia state by at least 15 years, until 2052.
Dow Jones Newswires reported that the extension plans would include combining the north and south Wandoo openpits at the operation, which will result in increased ore production and more waste, Newmont said in referral documents that were posted to the Australian government's environmental website.
"We won't be seeing more annual gold production: That will probably stay in the range of 750,000 to 800,000 oz/year, as per our guidance," the spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires.
Boddington began commercial production in November 2009 after spending roughly US$3 billion.
Increases in gold prices since the mine's feasibility study have made "some previously uneconomic material economic," the spokesman said, adding that it is too early to estimate the cost of the proposed extension work.
Work on new waste rock dumps is planned to start in three to four years, with construction of an expanded residue disposal area starting after 2015, Newmont said in the referral documents.
The proposal will require storage capacity for 2 billion metric tons of waste rock, along with clearance of 1,150 hectares of state and privately owned jarrah forest over the next 20-40 years, it said.
While mining is expected to finish in 2052, processing operations will continue until around 2060, the company added.