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Goldcorp reports positive progress on project pipeline

Published 25 September 2017

Goldcorp has provided an update of its project pipeline that forms the basis of its five–year 20/20/20 plan, under which it looks to increase gold production and gold reserves by 20%, while decrease all-in sustaining costs per ounce by 20%.

"The significant progress we have made on our development and exploration projects has given us increased confidence in our 20/20/20 objectives and identified new opportunities for outperformance at Cerro Negro, Peñasquito and Coffee," said David Garofalo, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are also pleased with the substantial progress of our longer-term projects Century, NuevaUnión and Cerro Casale/Caspiche that are poised to provide meaningful long-term gold production and value growth."

Highlights:

  • Exploration Discovery at Cerro Negro as New Expansion Study Commenced. High-grade Silica Cap discovery includes drill intercept of 19.66 m at 28.59 g/t gold; 115.75 g/t silver. The Company has commenced a concept study of a low capital cost, 10% to 20% expansion to the nameplate capacity of the 4,000 tonnes per day plant. 
  • Pyrite Leach Project at Peñasquito Ahead of Schedule and Under Budget. The project has achieved 40% completion on its $420 million investment, which is expected to be commissioned three months ahead of schedule by the fourth quarter of 2018. 
  • Continued Exploration Success at Coffee Demonstrates Large Scale Geological Potential and Possible Production Profile Increases. Step out drilling expands oxide resource into new AmeriKona zone. Recent results include 22.9 m at 1.93 g/t gold from a depth of 41.2 m. Drilling into new sulphide areas returns an intercept of 30.5 m at 7.24 g/t gold from a depth of 38.1 m.
  • Century Base Case Prefeasibility Nears Completion with Initial Gold Reserve Expected; Borden on track for commercial production in 2019. The base case Century prefeasibility study, to be completed in October 2017, has been based on over 4.5 million ounces of current Indicated resources, mainly from the Dome Century pit. Together with the Borden Project, currently under construction, significant increases in gold production from thePorcupine District are expected. 
  • NuevaUnión Joint Venture (50/50 Teck) Advancing Towards Feasibility Stage as Prefeasibility Study Nears Completion. The prefeasibility study is expected to be completed early in the first quarter of 2018, at which pointGoldcorp expects to enter the feasibility and permitting phase. 
  • Cerro Casale/Caspiche Joint Venture (50/50 Barrick) Establishes Project Team and Commences Exploration Program. Project team commences prefeasibility study on consolidation of large-scale Caspiche and Cerro Casale deposits into one operating district. An aggressive district-scale exploration program has been commenced on the 20,000 hectare property position.

Cerro Negro Operational Improvements and Exploration Success Drive Potential Expansion

The Cerro Negro operation (100% owned, Argentina) continues to strengthen operating performance while demonstrating strong exploration potential. Some recent highlights include:

  • Mine development has achieved record rates of 25 meters per day and daily production has reached the 3,000 tonnes per day level. 
  • Cerro Negro delivered $50 million in annual sustainable cost savings in 2016 through its optimization work and is expected to add another $25 million in 2017. 
  • The exploration program was expanded with successful results, as evidenced by the new Silica Cap discovery. 
  • A generative exploration program was implemented and is expected to add multiple targets throughout the summer field season on the 269 km2 land package.

The Cerro Negro complex has been steadily increasing production from the Eureka and Marianas Central mines to achieve a throughput rate of 3,000 tonnes per day.  Production is expected to increase to nameplate capacity of 4,000 tonnes per day when the Marianas Norte and Emelia mines are brought on line.

Accelerated development of an additional mining front is being contemplated that would allow Cerro Negro to potentially increase plant throughput by 10% to 20% beyond nameplate capacity of 4,000 tonnes per day. The Cerro Negro processing plant was designed for future expansion at a relatively low cost due to preconstructed infrastructure, including foundations for additional leaching tanks, that could accommodate higher throughput at low incremental capital investment. An expansion concept study is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

Exploration programs and target definition in the near and medium term will be key to support expansion opportunties. Current reserves at Cerro Negro are calculated on 9 veins. By comparison, Anglogold Ashanti's Cerro Vanguardia mine, located in the same province with similar host rocks, style and controls on mineralization, has produced over 4 million ounces of gold and had reserves calculated on 100 veins with an accumulated strike length of 190 km over its life of mine. Exploration is still at an early stage in this district where a portfolio of 32 vein targets has been identified.

Recent assay results from hole SCDD-17029 at the Silica Cap target returned a true thickness intersection of 30.69 m at 19.10 g/t gold; 76.40 g/t silver (Including I: 19.66 m at 28.59 g/t gold; 115.75 g/t silver and Including II: 4.5 m at 54.15 g/t gold; 125.43 g/t silver) attesting to the prospectivity of the district and supporting the potential for higher production rates beyond the current design capacity of 4,000 tonnes per day. As well as Silica Cap, drilling has commenced on the new Eureka SE target, a 600 meter exposed quartz vein complex at surface with total target length of 4 km.

eñasquito Expansion Ahead of Schedule and Under Budget

At Peñasquito (100% owned, Mexico), the Pyrite Leach Project ("PLP") is 40% complete and expected to commence commissioning in the fourth quarter of 2018, three months ahead of schedule. PLP is expected to recover approximately 40% of the gold and 48% of the silver currently reporting to the tailings, and is expected to add production of approximately 1 million ounces of gold and 44 million ounces of silver over the current life of the mine.

In addition, Goldcorp expects to complete the prefeasibility study on Eco-Tails by the first quarter of 2018. The Eco-Tails project has the potential to save in excess of 125 million m3 of water and reduce sustaining capital requirements of the tailings storage facility and additional wellfields during the life of the mine, representing estimated savings of$10 to $15 million annually. The financial benefits of this project are not only significant for Peñasquito but as the technology is developed further, consideration of its application to other large projects, such as the Cerro Casale/Caspiche Joint Venture, could lead to major financial, social and environmental benefits.

Coffee Project Demonstrates District Potential as it Prepares for Construction

Since the acquisition of the Coffee Project (100% owned, Canada) in July 2016, the Company has accelerated and expanded the scope of exploration in this developing new gold camp.  Goldcorp acquired the project not only for the high-grade Coffee gold deposit, but also to participate in the development of the growing mineral wealth within the highly prospective Tintina Gold Province which is endowed with approximately 150 million ounces of gold acrossYukon and Alaska. 

Government support for increased investment in the Yukon mineral industry is evidenced by the recent joint announcement from Yukon Territory and Canadian Federal Governments of a C$360 million program for the Yukon Resource Gateway Project which will help upgrade over 650 km of road infrastructure to access mineral-rich areas of the Yukon, including the Dawson Range where the Coffee Project is located. 

The Coffee Project contains numerous near-surface drill targets, with an accumulated strike length of more than 12 km, remaining to be systematically tested for additional oxide open pit resources, and all mineralized zones remain open at depth.  Furthermore, only 30% of the property has systematic soil sampling coverage. The Company has expanded the 2017 exploration budget to approximately C$20M through a recently implemented acceleration plan to capitalize on the success of the drilling programs so far this season, and to provide adequate resourcing to the Coffee exploration team to achieve Goldcorp's long-term objective to develop a camp that could produce 400,000 to 500,000 ounces of gold per annum. 

Almost 50,000 meters have been drilled to date this season, with another 25,000 meters planned before the end of the season. Encouraging initial reverse circulation drill results have recently been received from the new AmeriKona zone, located within a 4 km soil anomaly, 3 km to the west of the current Latte pit. Broad mineralized intercepts have returned the following highlights from recent drilling within a 1.5 km segment of this anomaly.

As well as continuing to test shallow oxide targets, the mineralized structures extend over several kilometers and have only been tested to relatively shallow depths (approximately 200 meters below the surface). A first phase of deep drilling to test the sulphide potential of the project has commenced at the Latte target, with additional holes planned at Supremo before the end of the 2017 field season.

Goldcorp has entered into an agreement with JDS Energy & Mining Inc. ("JDS") for the development and early operations of the Coffee Project. Under this agreement, JDS is responsible for the engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning, and, at Goldcorp's option, for the first two years of operations. The JDS team is familiar with the Coffee Project through their previous involvement in the development of the Kaminak Feasibility Study published in early 2016.

Significant progress has been made with First Nation partners in the Yukon. Tr'ondek Hwech'in, whose Traditional Territory covers 100% of the project footprint, and Goldcorp have completed negotiations on the financial terms of an agreement.  The Goldcorp team is continuing to work with the Tr'ondek Hwech'in to finalize a broader benefits agreement that will result in the creation of sustainable value for both parties as the Coffee Project is developed.

Century and Borden Projects Revitalize 100 Year Old Porcupine Camp

Goldcorp is expected to complete a base case prefeasibility study on the Century Project (100% owned, Canada) inOctober 2017, based on over 4.5 million ounces of current Indicated resource, mainly from the Dome Century pit, in time for Goldcorp's 2017 Reserve and Resource update.

Tradeoff studies and further optimization will focus on evaluating the latest technologies to reduce project impact and footprint and to improve mining and processing efficiencies. Ore sorting technologies, co-mingling of tailings with waste rock (Eco-Tails) to reduce water use, conveying of rock from the pit, electrical and/or autonomous equipment, and optimized process plant design are just some examples of the ongoing trade-off studies under consideration.

At Borden (100% owned, Canada), construction of surface infrastructure to support the development of the exploration ramp is now complete. The current infrastructure can support the mine once in production. Ramp development has now reached 300 meters and is on schedule. The bulk sample is expected to commence in October 2018. Bulk sample extraction and critical mine production development will be conducted concurrently. The mine is expected to begin commercial production, as planned, in the second half of 2019.

Borden is made up of a 1,000 km2 land package that provides significant exploration opportunity in a new mining district.  With an exploration budget of $5.5 million for 2017, the first half of 2017 was focused on core re-logging and drilling to increase the structural understanding of the deposit. Regionally, till surveying and prospecting covered significant areas of the surrounding land package in order to generate additional exploration targets.

Borden will also benefit from a low-cost mill at the Porcupine complex, located in Timmins. To reduce site footprint and simplify permitting, ore is planned to be transported from Borden to the Porcupine process facility.

The project has demonstrated a strong focus on inclusion and consultation with local communities to underpin the viability, sustainability and profitability of the mine. First Nations negotiations are in progress and Goldcorp expects to be in a position to sign a collaboration agreement prior to the start of construction. 

Positive Progress on the NuevaUnión Joint Venture

In collaboration with our joint venture partners, Teck Resources Limited, the prefeasibility study is being finalized onNuevaUnión (50% owned, Chile) and is expected to be completed early in the first quarter of 2018. There has been considerable progress made to date to combine the Relincho and El Morro projects and consolidate infrastructure, which is expected to result in a more robust combined project with a reduced environmental footprint, substantially reduced capital expenditures and an optimized plan including innovative technologies such as an autonomous mining fleet, low energy consumption process plant design, and hybrid conveyance system. 

While the prefeasibility study remains to be finalized, the many trade-off studies completed as part of the process have resulted in incorporating several value enhancing opportunities increasing confidence in the overall business case.

Goldcorp envisions a staged and internally financed capital program that would allow a large portion of the capital required to develop and construct future phases to be funded largely from internal cash flows.

Cerro Casale/Caspiche Joint Venture Applies Lessons of NuevaUnión Model and Undertakes Exploration Program

Cerro Casale/Caspiche (50% owned, Chile) has appointed a project director, Kim Hackney, to start building a dedicated project team based in Santiago, Chile. Kim is an engineer with more than 35 years of project development experience, most recently with Goldcorp and Newmont Mining Corporation, where he was an integral part of the project/construction teams at Peñasquito, Akyem, Boddington, Yanacocha and Batu Hijau.

The initial stage of the joint venture has been focused on planning a scope of work and budget to progress the project through 24 months of planned studies with key focus areas including:

Geological review and resource models update for both Cerro Casale and Caspiche;

Drilling campaign including infill, definition, geotechnical and metallurgical drilling for Cerro Casale and Caspiche;

District exploration program underway to review prospects and identify targets including the satellite oxide pits at Cerro Casale for the upcoming drilling season;

Trade-off engineering studies;

Understanding the application of Goldcorp's patented Concentrate Enrichment Process ("CEP") to optimize concentrate quality; and

Engaging various stakeholders and initiating a permitting strategy for the combined operation.

The lessons learned as part of the prefeasibility study at NuevaUnión will be beneficial as the joint venture advances through the prefeasibility stage. The joint venture will control more than 20,000 hectares of mineral properties, which contain a combined gold mineral reserve and resource estimate of 23.2 million ounces of Proven and Probable reserves, 26.7 million ounces of Measured and Indicated resources, and 7.8 million ounces of Inferred resources and a combined copper mineral reserve and resource estimate of 5.8 billion pounds of Proven and Probable reserves, 13 billion pounds of Measured and Indicated resources, and 2.7 billion pounds of Inferred resources (100% basis).

Musselwhite Expansion on Time and On Budget

At Musselwhite (100% owned, Canada), the Materials Handling Project is advancing as planned and has now achieved 48% completion with detailed engineering mostly completed. The $90 million investment, which is expected to provide an after-tax IRR of 25% (based on current reserves only) through the construction of an underground winze and associated infrastructure, will result in a significant reduction in truck haulage and is expected to increase production by 20% while reducing operating costs by approximately 10%.

The project will reduce reliance on high-cost truck haulage by significantly reducing uphill truck haulage between the winze and underground crushers leading to improved energy efficiency, reduced ventilation requirements, reduced mining costs, enhanced production schedule and potential to extend mine life through exploration success. 

During the third quarter of 2017, the Materials Handling Project achieved a key milestone transitioning from lateral development to the construction and build phase. All equipment has been engineered with full automation capabilities. Hoisting, crushing, rock breaking and chutes have the ability to operate from multiple locations including underground, surface and long distance tele-operation from Thunder Bay. 

The current schedule will allow for increased efficiency, reduced ramp traffic and balanced power consumption. This will all be complimented by a threefold increase of ore storage capacity at different locations providing the operations flexibility while delivering continuous product to the mill.

Completion of the project remains on schedule and is expected in the first quarter of 2019.



Source: Company Press Release