Super Pit Gold Extends Mining to 2029

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By Athena Yenko | February 6, 2014 3:19 PM EST

The Australian mining industry in the country is the biggest in the world, second to China. However, as mining companies tried to restrict the cost, the industry had to resort to firing workers, resulting to a widespread job losses across the region.

On Thursday, the operators of Super Pit, the Kalgoorie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM), announced that it has extended its mining until 2029. But the company has yet to announce opening new jobs opportunity.

KCGM in 2013 had to lay off staff due to falling gold prices and instead processed ores with low grade of gold.

General manager Russell Cole told ABC that the extension was still subject to economic factors.

"Processing the low grade stockpiles has now become part of our long-term plan. The inclusion of the stockpiles means KCGM currently plans to process gold until 2029. Of course this may change as the economical viability of any project can fluctuate due to external factors such as gold price, taxes, and labour costs. It is important for the community to understand that while KCGM endeavours to extend the life of the operations, gold price is variable and economically viable mineral resources are finite, and one day the mine will close," Mr Cole said.

He also said that the company is willing to exert all effort to improve its environmental management.

"The two roasters at Gidji are scheduled to cease operating by the end of 2015, and will be replaced with a large ultra-fine grinding mill," he said.

In 2007, the company was asked to pay a fine of $25,000 for its extreme use of sulphur dioxide emissions from Gidji.

In a statement given to Reuters, Mr Cole reiterated that mining low grade stockpiles will be the company's long-term focus up until it closes.

"While current plans have us stopping open pit mining in 2019, processing the low grade stockpiles has now become part of our long-term plan," Mr Cole said in a statement.

Gold prices had been rising in 12 of the past 13 years, according to Reuters. Hence, mining companies globally had to shift to processing lower-grade ore for more profit and expand their reserves. The mining industry continues to face challenges as a 28 per cent decline in the price of gold to just above $1,200 in 2013 implied that mining those expanded reserves will possibly no longer return revenue for them.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, gold was quoted at $1,253 an ounce.

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