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Lower Barrick ore grades, Midas sale cuts into U.S. gold output

U.S. gold exports plunged 41% during the first nine months of this year, says the U.S. Geological Survey.


U.S. gold mine production declined 7% in the first nine months of this year, the U.S. Geological Survey has reported.

The decline was partly attributed to lower production from Barrick Gold Corp. and Newmont Mining.

Barrick’s Cortez Mine in northern Nevada produced 21,600 kg (684,451 troy ounces) in the first nine months of this year for a 36% decline in output, which was attributed to a lower ore grade.

Production for Newmont’s Nevada operations during the same period also dropped 10% to 34,600 kg (1,112,407 oz) because of the sale of the Midas Mine and a development phase that will increase waste stripping and decrease mill throughput at several mines, said the USGS.

The production decreases were partially offset by Rio Tinto’s Bingham Canyon Mine with 7,060 kg (226,982 oz) in the first nine months of the year, a 70% increase over the same period of last year when the operation was still recovering from a massive landslide.

For the period from January through September of this year, U.S. gold miners reported a total production of 159,000 kg (5,111,929 oz). Led by Nevada gold mining, which yielded 113,000 kg (3,633,006 oz) during the period, Alaska gold mines produced 24,500 kg, (787,687 oz) while the combined output of gold from Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah and Washington totaled 21,500 kg (691,236 oz).

The USGS reported 18,000 kg (578,709 oz) of gold production for the month of September. Nevada gold mines again led the country in total output of 12,600 kg (405,096 oz) for September 2014, which was down from 14,500 kg (466,182 oz) of production for September 2013. During September 2014, Alaska gold mines reported 3,090 kg (99,345 oz) of output, up from 2,990 kg (96,131 oz) of gold production during the same period of last year. The combined output of the remaining gold producing states for September of this year was 2,350 kg (75,553 oz), up from 2,240 kg (72,017 oz) in September 2013. Average daily gold production for U.S. mines was 601 kg (19,322 oz) in September and 582 kg (18,712 oz) for the first nine months of the year.

“Total imports of gold for the first 9 months of 2014 were slightly greater than those of the same period in 2013,” the agency said in its latest Mineral Industry Surveys. “Imports of refined bullion increased and more than offset a decrease in imports of doré, precipitates, ores and concentrates.”

“Total exports of gold for the first 9 months of 2014 decreased by 41% compared with that in the first nine months of 2013, with significant decreases for all categories,” said the survey. “Gold waste and scrap trade in the first 9 months of 2014 was 83% and 79% lower for trade and exports, respectively, compared with that in the first 9 months of 2013.”

“The decreases in waste and scrap trade and in exports of refined gold were attributed to lower gold prices and the historically high gold trading in 2013,” the USGS noted.

For the first nine months of this year, the agency reported gold imports totaling 233,000 kg (7,491,066 oz). Exports during the same period totaled 340,000 kg (10,931,170 oz). 

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