Emigrant: Newmont’s new ‘bolt-on’ mine site
Newmont Mining Corporation’s newest mine to its Nevada portfolio is expected to add as much as 73,000 ounces of gold to the company’s production totals in 2013
Newmont poured its first gold from the Emigrant mine in Elko County on August 30. Ore was first placed under heap leach in April after just over a year of mine site engineering and facilities construction.
The Emigrant mine is expected to produce 840,000 ounces of gold over 10 years of actual mining, with a total of 16 years for processing the ore. It’s one of the few mines located in Elko County; the majority of Newmont’s mines are in Eureka, Humboldt and Lander counties, though Newmont does operate its Midas mine in Elko County.
Open-pit mining will commence at Emigrant over a series of nine pits, with backfilling and other reclamation efforts happening concurrent with mining efforts. The facility 14 miles south of Carlin employs about 140 miners.
The plan to mine gold at the Emigrant site had moved in and out of the company’s targets over the years, says Al Schindler, process superintendent for the Emigrant Mine. It gained steam based on current gold prices and the relative low cost and speed with which the mine could be put into production.
The Emigrant mine is situated near the shuttered Rain mine, which is in the reclamation process. That meant infrastructure in place could be used at the Emigrant site, such as a truck shop and freshwater pumping system.
Secondly, Newmont could capitalize on the availability of men and equipment at its nearby Gold Quarry operations to staff the mine — what’s known as a “bolt-on” operation in the mining industry.
“We had the luxury to move manpower back and forth,” Schindler says. “It was a mix during startup of experienced and new miners up there.”
The mine is being managed from Newmont’s large Gold Quarry operation.
Construction activities included the installation of new heap leach facilities and support structures, a new wash bay and loop storage building, and carbon and column plants. Due to the shortage of qualified labor, Newmont used a third-party consultant for construction management activities and gradually ramped up staffing with internal employees as it got closer to bringing the mine online.
“We knew we would not have the staff to adequately oversee that internally,” Schindler says. “It worked out well on the overall plan to use the “bolt-on” concept. The manpower and mining equipment came from other fleets in the state and it all came together very nicely.”
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