ELKO, NEVADA – Three years after the formation of the joint venture that created the world’s largest gold mining complex, Nevada Gold Mines (NGM) is stepping out on its next growth phase by identifying new opportunities for discoveries and additions, Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow said here today. Nevada Gold Mines is 61.5% owned and operated by Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE:GOLD)(TSX:ABX) with Newmont Corporation owning the rest.
Speaking during a visit by Barrick’s board of directors to view developments at the complex firsthand, Bristow said NGM stood out from the rest of the industry not only for its size but because a wealth of projects and prospects secure its future as a high-quality, long-life operation for decades to come.
Over the past three years, NGM has worked relentlessly to unlock synergies by consolidating mines, teams, processing facilities and landholdings. In its short life, NGM has produced 10 million ounces of gold and substantial free cash flow (on a 100 % basis). Greatly improved knowledge of the orebodies has supported robust 10-year plans and has increased the pre-merger life of mine substantially.
At the existing operations, brownfields exploration is replacing reserves depleted by mining and identifying new targets while the greenfields team is hunting further afield for a new Tier One1 discovery. NGM’s future flagship development will be the Goldrush project adjacent to Cortez, which is subject to an environmental review by the Bureau of Land Management and other cooperating agencies, including public comment and input. It is a world-class underground deposit with a life of mine plan2 in excess of 20 years and is expected to employ 500 people during construction and 570 during operation.
NGM and Barrick have positioned themselves as a key partner to the state of Nevada with NGM’s workforce of 7,000 making it one of the state’s largest employers. When the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020, NGM offered to prepay net proceeds from mineral tax and, more recently, it has worked with the state to create the mining excise tax, with the funds earmarked for education starting in 2023. To date, NGM has paid close to $60 million towards this new excise tax.
NGM continues to invest in people, both current and future employees, through education partnerships and training programs. It supports the College of Southern Nevada and the Clark County School District where high school students can obtain certificates in industrial maintenance or diesel technology and has renewed its partnership with Discovery Education for the Nevada Department of Education’s outreach program. The company is also working with the University of Nevada and the Great Basin College in Elko to develop mining-centred programs.
Internally, NGM has been developing a unique talent development program called ‘training mines’ for underground and surface mining as well as process operations with the aim of providing the company with well-rounded, safety-focused employees and maintaining quality control through structured, comprehensive, competency-based training. In addition to the training mines, leadership development programs have been rolled out with a focus on safety.
“We are also continuing our investment in community infrastructure, including the Elko broadband initiative which has delivered high-speed internet access to more than 635 homes. We have also established daycare facilities in Elko County to enable more women to join our workforce,” said Bristow, noting that women now comprise 16% of Barrick’s staff complement in North America.