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Production trends and economic characteristics of Canadian gold mines

M. Doggett and J. Zhang
Production trends and economic characteristics of Canadian gold mines
Exploration and Mining Geology (January 2007) 16 (1-2): 1-10


All 231 Canadian primary gold mines that produced from 1946 to 2004 were analyzed with respect to their production and economic characteristics. Trend analysis revealed that the average annual capacity of Canadian gold mines, as measured by ore processed or gold produced, has increased over time. Conversely, the average grade of gold mines has decreased over time. The distribution of gold output is highly uneven: for example, the 22 giant mines producing more than 100 t (metric tonnes) of gold account for 62% of total output. Small mines producing less than 10 t Au account for 54% of total mines, but less than 4% of total gold. Each historical mine in the database was evaluated on the basis of a set of economic and technical assumptions to determine if it would be economic to develop today. Based on the net present value using an 8% discount rate, only 103 of the 231 mines were determined to be economic. About 80% of the uneconomic mines had less than 10 t of contained gold, and 63% had less than 5 t. It is concluded that these small mines would not be viable today due to a combination of real capital cost increases, and more stringent permitting and environmental regulations. The implication is that future gold supply in Canada will hinge on the discovery and development of a new generation of larger mines. Given that only one giant mine has been discovered in the past 20 years, it seems likely that gold output will decrease in the future.

ISSN: 0964-1823
Serial Title: Exploration and Mining Geology
Serial Volume: 16
Serial Issue: 1-2
Title: Production trends and economic characteristics of Canadian gold mines
Affiliation: Queen's University, Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, Kingston, ON, Canada
Pages: 1-10
Published: 200701
Text Language: English
Publisher: Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, Montreal, QC, Canada
References: 23
Accession Number: 2007-101970
Categories: Economic geology, economics of ore deposits
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 4 tables
N42°00'00" - N84°00'00", W141°00'00" - W52°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Natural Resources Canada, CAN, Canada
Country of Publication: Canada
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Geological Society of CIM. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 200744
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