Expansion planned at Cripple Creek & Victor Gold
Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Co. is investing nearly $600 million over the next three years to expand its gold mine, the largest in Colorado and will add as many as 130 employees late this year, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.
The expansion, which will extend mining at the site near Victor until 2025, also will create another 300 construction jobs to complete a new leach field, recovery center and milling facility. The construction project will allow the mine to expand its annual output by about 40 percent to 10.8 t (350,000 oz) of gold, Ray DuBois, the company’s vice president and general manager told the Gazette.
State regulators approved the project in September, the second major extension of mining at the site since operations resumed there in 1994.
“The size and scope of the project has grown substantially since it was first proposed, primarily by increasing the capacity of the mill by four times so it can handle 1.8 Mt/a (2 million stpy) of ore instead of the 453 kt (500,000 st) in the initial plans,” DuBois said. “During the construction phase of this project, we and our contractors will employ about the same number of people - 1,150 - as the entire population of Cripple Creek.”
DuBois said he is not concerned that falling gold prices - which have declined 25.7 percent in the last six months - will derail the project, since prices were lower in 2010 when plans for the expansion were developed. Some equipment purchases have been delayed as prices have declined to reduce production costs, he said.
Most of the expansion will be in an area called Squaw Gulch, a horseshoe on Colorado Highway 67 between Cripple Creek and Victor, where Shelf Road meets the highway. The company is building a leach field and recovery center there, which requires relocating part of Highway 67 and moving or demolishing several historic structures, including a crib wall, several old mine head frames and the blacksmith shop at the end of the line for the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad.
DuBois said mine management also is in the early stages of developing a plan to expand and extend the life of the mine through 2033, which also likely would involve underground mining for the first time in decades in the Cripple Creek area.
Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Co. is owned by South African mining giant AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.