Gold production to jump 50% over next five years - Goldcorp CEO
Conservative policies in terms of low risk, low cost gold production has stood Goldcorp in good stead in the past and is continuing to do so moving forward.
Posted: Friday , 18 Sep 2009
Talking to Goldcorp CEO, Chuck Jeannes, at the Denver Gold Forum it is apparent that most of the principles set in place many years ago by former CEO, Rob McEwen, remain in place at this extremely successful Canadian-based gold miner, one of the largest in the world.
This is despite the animosity apparent when McEwen left. The company still looks for low cost operations in low political risk areas and is virtually totally gold focused.
True it is bringing silver into the mix through Penasquito, which is just gearing up towards first concentrate production, but in its rationale it still views Penasquito as a gold mine with substantial silver, plus lead and zinc as a byproduct - and these days McEwen's new flagship U.S. Gold also has a silver mining project!
Speaking at the Gold Forum, Jeannes pointed to solid production currently slightly ahead of forecast and what he described as "an outstanding present, very promising future" and as "being the fastest growing and lowest cost senior gold producer, with zero net debt."
All Goldcorp's current operations are in the Americas and while there is no set policy not to look elsewhere Jeannes reckons they just haven't come across anything which meets their very strict criteria for investment.
The company is also not interested in raising new capital to take advantage of the much higher gold prices and the considerable interest in gold at the moment says Jeannes. It already has sufficient new production in its pipeline which is capable of seeing it through the next several years giving it a growing production profile that it can finance out of its own resources.
Indeed Goldcorp's forward gold output predictions are impressive with a 50% increase in gold production scheduled over the next five years as its current projects come on stream. Forecast gold output for the current year is 2.3 million ounces and this may well be exceeded although not significantly. Beyond 2013 there is another slate of significant gold projects waiting in the wings.
The first main element in forward growth is Penasquito where the first milling line is due to start producing concentrate imminently. There is a 5.8 million ton stockpile of ore ready for processing to see the plant through its commissioning stages. A second mill line is due to come on stream next year. Annual life of mine output is planned at 500,000 ounces of gold a year, 31 million ounces of silver and 400 million lbs of zinc. Reserves are currently at 17.4 million ounces of gold and 1.05 billion ounces of silver.
Next in line is an expansion at Red Lake which Goldcorp calls the highest grade gold mine in the world and then the 40% share in Pueblo Viejo, being developed by Barrick in the Dominican Republic. Musselwhite then follows on, finalizing the build-up to 3.5 million ounces a year in 2013.
Beyond that, Goldcorp has a string of potential projects to keep output rising - these include Cochenour, adjacent to the Red Lake mine, Eleonore in a newly discovered gold district in Quebec, a probable ‘super pit' at Red Lake, Cerro Blanco, Hollinger and then the development of the underground potential at Penasquito.
Most of Goldcorp's exploration budget is being spent in the vicinity of its existing and forward projects. Jeannes told Mineweb it is more efficient to leave grassroots exploration to juniors which seem to be more successful and more efficient than the majors in finding new significant deposits.
So, all in all, Goldcorp has its future well planned out and manageable with existing funding, plus its cashflow development being seen as sufficient for at least its immediate needs. These conservative policies, and the emphasis on low cost production have stood the gold miner in good stead in the past and should continue to do so going forward under current management.