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A Look at Kinross Gold’s West Africa Operations

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Tasiast, Mauritania

Kinross Gold (KGC) acquired the Tasiast mine in the 2010 acquisition of Red Back Mining Inc. Tasiast is located in Mauritania in West Africa. It is an open-pit operation and is located within an extensive gold system that is largely unexplored.

Tasiast began commercial operations in 2008. The mining operations include conventional open pit mining methods. High-grade ore is processed based on three-stage crushing, ball mining, and a carbon-in-leach circuit. Tasiast is the highest cost operation as compared to the rest of Kinross’s operations. However, the company’s management has started to focus on optimizing the mine plan in a way that reduces costs.

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Kinross’s industry peers have also taken such initiatives, including Barrick Gold (ABX), Goldcorp (GG), and Newmont Mining (NEM). The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) invests in the stocks mentioned above. Investors can get exposure to spot gold by investing in the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD). Kinross forms 3.2% of GDX’s holdings.

Chirano, Ghana

Chirano is located in southwestern Ghana. Kinross acquired a 90% stake in Chirano in 2010 after the acquisition of Red Back Mining, Inc. The government of Ghana holds the remaining 10% of the stake. It achieved its first gold pour in October 2005.

There are two open pit mines and two underground mines. Underground mines contribute ~65% of gold production. Open pit and underground ore is processed at the Chirano plant. Gold processing is done through a 3.5 million ton-per-year conventional three-stage crushing circuit.

In the next part of this series, we’ll see why the production profile for Kinross is declining and what steps the company is taking to stem it.

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