Galore Creek gold-silver project output may be increased
Teck Cominco officials believe that BC’s Galore Creek gold-silver project has ‘substantial expansion potential’ as planned production is already being upgraded by the joint venture with NovaGold.
Posted: Tuesday , 16 Oct 2007
RENO, NV -
Teck Cominco Senior Vice President Project Development, Tim Watson, said Monday that the Galore Creek gold-silver joint venture project in British Columbia may be increased from its current planned 65,000 tpd production to 74,000 tpd.
In a presentation to investors and analysts during Teck Cominco's Investors Day, Watson said the joint venture with NovaGold Resources is now updating costs and production increases in an effort to produce a new project capex in the new few months.
Galore Creek is believed to have reserve of 3 million tons of copper, 5.3 million ounces of gold, and 92.6 million ounces of silver. Annual production is estimated at 340,000 ounces of gold, 4 million ounces of silver, and 200 kt of copper. Teck Senior Vice President of Development Ron Vance told investors and analysts that the project has "substantial expansion potential" and could be a "very, very significant producer of gold and silver for many, many years to come."
Thanks to its 100% cash investment into Galore Creek, Vance said the company will enjoy government tax advantages. He also praised the joint venture's "excellent relationships with the Tahltan Band and BC regulators.
Teck Cominco is delaying a decision on whether to restructure its gold production at its Pogo mine is Alaska until it is fully ramped up. Dale Andres, Vice President of International Mining, told analysts and investors that Pogo is now operating at 80%to 90% of design capacity and hopes to achieve full production rates at the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Vance noted that Teck Cominco redeployed over $4 billion in cash into "long-life, quality assets this year." The company's acquisition of Aur Resources gives the company the "ability to take advantage of currently very high metal prices," he added, thanks to three operating mines. Moody's also upgraded Teck's credit rating to Baa-1 as a result of the acquisition.
Despite debates over taxation of oil sands in Alberta, Teck remains bullish on the creation of its oil sands business division. Teck has committed to develop the Fort Hills oil sands project.