Atna scales back expansion plan for Pinson mine
In the wake of tumbling gold prices, Atna Resources of Golden, Colo. last week said it is scaling back underground mining operations at its Pinson Mine near Winnemucca.
Atna says operations at the mine are being downsized to focus on mining developed ore reserves and to maintain core personnel and contractors. In the past five years, Atna had boosted its workforce at the site from eight to 240 employees.
The goal, Atna executives say, is to produce enough gold to support continued operations and maintain current underground infrastructure. Gold last week was hovering around $1,400 an ounce. Atna also plans to re-engineer its mine plan to reduce overall cost structures. Atna had been working on a plan to boost underground production at the Pinson Mine with capital costs of $72.2 million.
“All aspects of the current mining methods employed at Pinson, combined with existing third-party mining, transportation and processing contracts, will be reviewed during this evaluation,” the company said in a statement.
Atna will shift its focus from underground development to a combination of open pit and underground operations to boost overall project return.
“We are in the process of a detailed review of underground and open-pit mine design and cost structures at Pinson,” said James Hesketh, president and chief executive officer of Atna Resources.
The rate effective Jan. 1, 2020, is 1.65 percent of wages paid to employees. That is two-tenths of a percent lower than the current rate, giving a significant break to businesses that pay the tax.