Can you provide an overview of Kinross' global portfolio and elaborate on the company’s strategy to acquire its assets?
We are a global company with a diversified portfolio of mines and development projects. Our two operating mines in Nevada are called Bald Mountain and Round Mountain. We also have an operating mine in Alaska called Fort Knox, together with a development project called Manh Choh which will soon become its own mine. In Russia, we have a large operating mine called Kupol-Dvoinoye and we recently purchased another property called Udinsk which is under development. In addition, we have an underground mine in Ghana called Chirano and a large deposit in Mauritania called Tasiast. Finally, we have two development projects in Chile: La Coipa and Lobo-Marte.
We have managed to be quite successful in all our jurisdictions, and a large part of that can be attributed to the good relationship we have with the local governments and regulatory agencies. Within our diversified portfolio, Nevada is very stable from a geopolitical standpoint, and we can draw on a large and experienced workforce.
How have your Nevada assets performed in the last year?
Our Nevada projects have grown considerably within the last year, and both have been quite successful in terms of production. A couple of years ago, the Phase W project was approved for Round Mountain, which had the aim of extending mining by five years and increasing life-of-mine production by 1.5 million ounces of gold. The expansion has been progressing at a good pace, and we have recently been working on getting through some of our major stripping years and getting into the heart of the ore body on the recent mine expansions. In early 2021, we identified movement in our north wall, and we were able to adjust our plan and develop appropriate mitigation steps to get that movement behind background levels. We have also been identifying areas of improvement, from an operating efficiency standpoint and how we deploy the overall mining fleet.
At Bald Mountain, we have been wrapping up the Vantage Complex project, which was another expansion of the mine site. It has been quite successful in adding mine life to the property. We have made multiple operational improvements in mining rates and lowered overall operating costs.
Could you elaborate on Kinross' exploration strategy?
In both properties, there is substantial interest to continue with exploration investment, which stems from the favorable jurisdiction we are located in and the quality of our assets, which have produced numerous ounces of gold over the years. We are constantly searching for new projects for our life of mine planning, so it is an ongoing strategy. At the moment, we are looking at multiple projects at Round Mountain that have a high likelihood of coming into the mine plan with positive economics.
What new technologies are being implemented at Kinross’ properties in Nevada to optimize production and improve efficiency?
At Kinross, we have a large passion for new technologies. As an example, we have implemented one of the first autonomous dozers on the Round Mountain property and are starting to train operators on how to use it.
What initiatives does Kinross have to reduce the environmental impact of its mines?
An important part of our culture at Kinross in Nevada is to complete reclamation as we mine. Bald Mountain has actually won a couple of awards around concurrent reclamation. There is a large mule, deer, and elk migration area close to this property, so it is important that as we mine, we pay attention to the areas that can be returned to better habitats.
Kinross has also made a commitment to the market to reduce overall greenhouse emissions, and we have already started introducing these initiatives in Nevada. We are taking this commitment very seriously from a mining fleet standpoint, finding ways to reduce our diesel consumption and improving operational efficiencies to limit our overall footprint.
How do you view the regulatory framework for mining companies in Nevada?
In Nevada, we are fortunate to have a good relationship with the BLM, which is the main agency that we work with since we are mining predominantly on public lands. We understand the various processes that we need to go through at the BLM to get to our next mine expansion. For mining companies in the US, the most challenging part is the lengthy permitting process and the investment required to move a project forward. The permitting process is becoming increasingly challenging; it is requiring larger investments and longer waiting times, which can limit the number of projects that can be economical.