Goldcorp Commences Commercial Production at Cerro Negro Mine in Argentina
Goldcorp Inc. has announced production at its Cerro Negro Mine in Argentina is officially underway.
"We are very pleased to have first production on schedule and within our current capital cost guidance range from this world class mine," said Chuck Jeannes, Goldcorp President and Chief Executive Officer.
He added, “This milestone signals not only the start of Cerro Negro's mine life, but also a period of sustained growth for Goldcorp.”
On July 25, the world’s largest gold miner by market capitalization poured its first gold bar from the mine, containing 317 ounces of gold and weighing 100 kilograms.
With an estimated lifecycle of nine years, the Cerro Negro mine in Argentina is expected to produce over half a million ounces per year for the first five years, and 250,000 ounces per year afterwards.
Goldcorp has the potential of extending the mine’s life and increasing the number of years the site produces high grade ore.
Production guidance for the Cerro Negro mine in 2014 is expected between 130,000 and 180,000 ounces of gold.
“The team at Cerro Negro has done an outstanding job amid occasionally challenging circumstances and I congratulate them for this outstanding effort. We look forward to strong contributions from Cerro Negro to Goldcorp's overall performance for many years to come," said Jeannes.
“Very importantly, this achievement was reached safely, with Cerro Negro in the midst of a run of over 4.1 million man hours without a lost time accident.”
Capital costs for the Cerro Negro mine in Argentina’s Santa Cruz providence are expected to be between $1.6 and $1.7 billion.
British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars
The British demand for lithium is set to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2035 as the government works towards their ban on the sale of high-polluting diesel and petrol vehicles within the UK. This comes as automakers worldwide continue to insist on the benefits electric vehicles will have on slowing the rate of climate change.
It is estimated that the UK will require 50,000-60,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year by 2035 for battery production to satisfy government needs. This is assuming production remains at 1.2 million vehicles per year, and the amount of lithium required does not increase.
British Lithium, which hopes to begin constructing a quarry to produce 20,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year in a $400 million investment, are not without competitors, both within the UK and abroad.
Competition For Lithium Rises In Europe
After only five years after its initial launch, Cornish Lithium is setting its sights on becoming a UK powerhouse in mining lithium, aiming to begin commercial production in under four years. Jeremy Wrathall, a former investment banker and current managing director of Cornish Lithium, had the future in mind when founding the company.
“In 2016, I started to think about the electric vehicle revolution and what that would mean for metal demand, and I started to think about lithium,” he said in an interview with AFP. “A friend of mine mentioned lithium being identified in Cornwall, and I just wondered if that was a sort of unrecognised thing in the UK.”
Lithium was first discovered in Cornwall around 1864 and has not been mined again since 1914 when it was produced as an ingredient in fireworks. Now, however, Cornish Lithium is reportedly in the testing stage to see if the metal can be produced commercially to meet the growing demand required for the electric car sector.
Despite Cornwall’s close historic ties to mining lithium, Wrathall insists that the project is purely commercial.
Cornish Mining Revival For Lithium Production
“It’s not a mission that drives me to the point of being emotional or romantic,” he says. “It’s vitally important that we do get this technology otherwise Europe has got no lithium supply.”
The European Commission has also stated their goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to aid the environment. That being said, the majority of lithium extraction currently relies on power provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuels─a slight contradiction.
Alex Keynes, from the Brussels-based lobby group Transport & Environment, is adamant that mining for lithium should be done sustainably.
“Our view is that medium-to-long term, the majority of materials including lithium should come from efficient and clean recycling.
“Europe from a strategic point of view should be looking at securing its own supply of lithium.”
Despite growing competition from abroad, British Lithium Chairman, Roderick Smith, continues to place importance on the mining of lithium within the UK.
“Imagine what the UK economy would look like if we lost our automotive industry,” Smith says. “The stakes are high for the UK.”
Smith expects the UK to compete with other European countries to secure a lithium battery plant in the near future.