For information on the regulatory environment and licence to operate in United States, refer to the section entitled Regulatory environment enabling AngloGold Ashanti to mine.
Located in the State of Colorado in the United States, CC&V's Cresson mine is an open-pit operation which treats extracted ore on one of the largest heap-leach pads in the world. Production at this operation began in 1994. AngloGold Ashanti holds a 100% interest in CC&V, following the successful acquisition, effective 1 July 2008, of a 33% stake from Golden Cycle Gold Corporation.
In 2009, construction began on the mine-life extension (MLE) project that will provide four additional years of mine production to the heap-leach pad. Total expenditure associated with this project is expected to be $204m.
|Cripple Creek & Victor||2009||2008||2007|
|Total cash costs||($/oz)||376||309||269|
|Total production costs||($/oz)||475||413||372|
|Total number of employees||562||421||405|
CC&V continued to report an excellent safety performance. The LTIFR for 2009 declined to 4.39 per million hours worked (2008: 4.83). CC&V has maintained a fatality-free record since it was acquired by AngloGold Ashanti in 1998.
Various safety programmes have been implemented on the mine, such as: The DuPont Safety Training (STOP) programme instituted in 2003; the risk-based safety management system in 2005; an extension of the STOP programme; Train the Trainers in 2007; the SAFEmap International competency-based safety training (CBS) programme in 2008-2009; and the Safety Transformation Programme in 2009. The programmes have been implemented to ensure continued improvement in safety performance at CC&V. Project ONE was rolled out in 2009. More positive results are expected over the two-year implementation process.
In 2009, gold production at CC&V fell by 16% to 218,000oz, equivalent to 5% of group production. A total of 18.7Mt (2008: 22.1Mt) of ore was placed on the heap-leach pad.
Total cash costs increased to $376/oz, driven mainly by lower gold production, additional fuel, lime, cyanide, blasting agents and power consumption, more maintenance and certified rebuilds, as well as the adjustment for the lower recoverable heap leach inventory ounces.
The anticipated decline in production was a result of lower ore tonnes and grades mined and the slower percolation of goldbearing solution through the leach pad. This was partially due to the greater distance over which the solution had to flow from the higher stacked ore to the leach-pad lining and was compounded by a lack of higher alkalinity in deeper parts of the pad. The latter issue, identified during the 2008 pad drilling programme, results in dissolved gold precipitating from the pregnant solution at depth. An initiative to raise alkalinity by adding additional lime to the pad began in the second half of 2008 and continued through 2009. The recovery of the precipitated gold is expected to continue for several years, given the size of the pad.
After reviewing the leach pad inventory, the estimate of ounces placed on the pad and the effect of the lower alkalinity at depth, the recoverable inventory was reduced by 148,000oz during November 2009. This adjustment increased total cash costs in 2009 by $6/oz and will increase total cash costs for 2010 by approximately $70/oz.
Capital expenditure for the year was $87m (2008: $27m), mainly for the MLE project and related extensions to the heap-leach facility, mining fleet and exploration.
In 2008, CC&V was granted permits from the State of Colorado and Teller County for a mine-life extension that includes the development of new sources of ore and an extension to the heap-leach facility. The permits extend the operation of the expanded valley leach facility and the rinsing of the pad to ensure water quality is compliant with all applicable standards. Development drilling continues to define areas of interest for which engineering analysis and permitting requirements are being evaluated in a pre-feasibility study for a second mine-life extension project (MLE 2).
Gold production for 2010 is expected to be maintained at between 214,000oz and 223,000oz, at a total cash cost of between $480/oz to $503/oz. Capital expenditure of $78m is scheduled for the year, to be spent mostly on major mine equipment purchases and the MLE project.
CC&V was recognised by the Center for Non-Profit Excellence at the 10th annual Partners in Philanthropy Awards as the Outstanding Corporate Philanthropic Program. The awards are given to honour local organisations and individuals for their extraordinary philanthropic contributions. The Court Appointed Special Advocates honoured CC&V with their Corporate Partner Award, recognising CC&V’s volunteer programme and community contributions programmes.
CC&V continued to be recognised as a Gold Leader in the State of Colorado’s Environmental Leadership Program, the first mine in Colorado to attain that level of recognition. In addition, CC&V’s Environmental Management System was recommended for re-certification under the ISO 14001 standard and the operation continued under its Cyanide Code certification.