AngloGold moves forward with studies for Nevada starter project

26th February 2024 By: Mariaan Webb - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

AngloGold moves forward with studies for Nevada starter project

AngloGold Ashanti CEO Alberto Calderon

The board of multinational miner AngloGold Ashanti has given the green light for the North Bullfrog project’s feasibility study to progress into detailed engineering.

This represents a crucial milestone in realising AngloGold's objective of starting production in Nevada, a region where the company sees the the potential for achieving a peak production of 500 000 oz/y over multiple years.

“We have moved quickly to build a world-class new gold district in southern Nevada,” said CEO Alberto Calderon last week.

North Bullfrog is AngloGold’s starter project in Nevada and its most advanced, with permitting already under way.

Pending the issuance of necessary regulatory approvals and permits, North Bullfrog could produce an average 117 000 oz/y during the first five full years and an average of 62 000 oz/y over its 13-year mine life.

All-in sustaining costs are forecast at $882/oz over the first five full years and $854/oz over the life of the mine.

The feasibility study puts an initial project capital expenditure estimate of $369-million on North Bullfrog. At a $1 600/oz gold price, the project will have an internal rate of return (IRR) of 13%, and at a market spot gold price of $1 900/oz, the IRR is estimated to be 25%.

AngloGold’s updated estimate of first production is around mid-2026 assuming all goes to plan.

“Aside from the new low-cost ounces it will contribute to the group, North Bullfrog will provide us practical understanding of the permitting process, the opportunity to build the best-in-class project team and current experience of building and operating a project in Nevada, all of which will be invaluable as we roll forward to the much bigger Merlin development,” said Calderon.

The bigger prize for AngloGold is its Expanded Silicone project, which covers the silicon deposit roughly in the centre of the miner’s land holding and Merlin immediately south.

AngloGold on Friday reported a 9.1-million-ounce inferred resource at Merlin, which it believed to be the biggest greenfield gold discovery in the US in more than a decade.

“It's the fruit of a 2023 exploration programme that beat all expectations. We drilled 144 holes totalling more than 100 km of drilling.

“There is still significant upside particularly to the west,” Calderon said, describing Merlin as a “truly spectacular piece of geology”.

The expanded Silicone project has a mineral resource of 13.3-million ounces.

AngloGold plans to finish the concept study for the Siilicone project at the end of the year.