• In 1962, Newmont revolutionized the gold mining industry with the world’s first discovery of submicroscopic or “invisible gold.”
  • Newmont helped found the ICMM, promoting sustainable development and social responsibility in mining.

Our Business Features

Innovation Team Assists with Silver Recovery

Cajamarca, Peru

There’s no question that the price of silver is on the rise. As a result, the Solutions and Innovation team and the Yanacocha operations team are collaborating on a method for recovering silver from Yanacocha’s heap leach pads. These heaps are thought to contain in excess of 300 million ounces of silver, or about $13 billion worth at today’s commodity prices.

The leaching process primarily recovers gold from the heaps leaving silver behind. In-house research in this area continues to progress. This year Discovery and Development’s Innovation team brought in some additional resources to generate novel ideas about how extraction might be done in a safe, cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner.

Supplementing the in-house research already being done, the Innovation team placed the challenge in front of SynecticsWorld, a consulting firm specializing in innovation processes, and Nine Sigma, a top-ranking innovation service provider.

The challenge is to identify and recover trace amounts of silver that are often encapsulated in, or combined with, other minerals within the heaps. Conventional methods of extraction, including crushing, grinding and leaching at very high concentrations of fluid, are not viable options even at today’s record-high silver prices.

In March, the Innovation team helped address this challenge through interactive invention sessions using a methodology advocated by SynecticsWorld, which facilitated the work. Approximately 26 Newmont employees, a dozen external experts and some facilitators gathered initially in Lima, Peru, and later in Denver, Colorado, to participate in the Silver Recovery Innovation Campaign. Through the four week campaign, they applied innovative thinking tactics such as curiosity, speculation, developmental thinking, experimentation and more.

“We had a lot of reasons for doing this work“, said Kirsten Benefiel, former director of Innovation. “First, we were able to cast a wide net and test several methods for generating potential solutions, and later consider how well those solutions would work for Newmont. Second, we demonstrated how innovation, when used as a process, could contribute to Newmont’s culture.

As a result of carrying out the Silver Recovery campaign, we came up with some great proposals, and participants seemed to learn a lot about what it means to think innovatively. I expect those lessons learned will continue to be applied in the normal course of their work activities.”

Campaign participants included team members from Business Opportunity Delivery, Innovation, Metallurgy, Technical & Scientific Systems, Corporate Development, Supply Chain Management, Exploration, Human Resources, Legal and Operations.

A different approach was taken with Nine Sigma. This company broadcasts a request for proposals to provide or lead to a solution to a specific problem — in this case, silver recovery. From this request, more than 40 proposals were received and are currently being evaluated by Newmont’s Innovation team for consideration.

In April, the Innovation team presented its current results to members of the Executive Leadership Team. The Innovation team is excited about the outcomes from these experiences and looks forward to sharing more details as it continues to support and address prospective challenges related to innovation across Newmont.

September 6, 2011

Extending Tanami’s Mine Life

Tanami Desert, Northern Territory

In the desert of the Northern Territory of Australia, mine leaders at Newmont’s Tanami operation have been investigating opportunities to extend the mine life to 2020 and beyond.

Located at Dead Bullock Soak, production is from the Callie mine which had 2 million ounces in gold reserves at 2010 year end. Callie is about 1,500 yards (1.4 kilometers) deep and has been mined using sublevel open stoping with cemented aggregate fill. Drilling results indicate there is potential to continue mining farther down, but existing infrastructure is aging and costs are increasing.

Through the Tanami Operations Optimisation Project, Newmont is investigating several options, including an on-site paste plant that will allow existing stopes on the higher levels to be backfilled and the remaining ore mined.

The team also is assessing the feasibility of building a 1.4-kilometer shaft to transport mined ore to the surface. The shaft would make it more economic to continue mining beyond the existing 1.4-kilometer depth.

Additionally, Newmont has invested $110 million to upgrade the Granites accommodation village, replace the ball mill, complete the paste plant and other improvement projects.

September 6, 2011

Boddington Mines 1 Million Ounces

Boddington, Western Australia

Australia’s newest gold mine poured its first millionth ounce in March. This is a historic milestone for Newmont’s flagship operation, which poured its first gold ounce almost two years ago in September 2009.

Considerable work was required to bring the operation, one of Australia’s largest gold producers, into safe production. More than 14,000 employees and contractors worked more than 14 million man hours to start up the project.

“Our first gold pour proved the process, but our first million ounces demonstrates what we can do when we are committed and focused,” said Jeff Huspeni, senior vice president, Newmont Asia Pacific. “I congratulate our site team, which has worked the safe hours to achieve this historic milestone.”

September 6, 2011

Trio Mine Project Underway

Waihi, New Zealand

After receiving consents and settling appeals, Newmont Waihi Gold is moving ahead with development of its Trio underground project.

Located halfway between the existing Martha Pit and Favona underground mine, Trio will provide continued employment to about 700 direct and indirect staff and contractors during its estimated mine life through the end of 2014. Mine officials are completing  onstruction of the access drives, and production is anticipated to begin in 2012.

September 6, 2011

Newmont and Sumitomo Divest 7% Stake in PTNNT

Denver, Colorado

Under the terms of PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara’s (PTNNT) Contract of Work with the Indonesian Government, subsidiaries of Newmont and Sumitomo Corporation divested a 7 percent investment in PTNNT in Indonesia.

Pusat Investasi Pemerintah (PIP), designated as the buyer by the Indonesian Government, signed a sale and purchase agreement for the shares worth $246.8 million. Nusa Tenggara Partnership B.V., which holds Newmont’s shares in PTNNT – together with shares held by a subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation of Japan – now owns 49 percent of PTNNT. Of that amount, Newmont will directly own 27.56 percent of PTNNT and has another 17 percent economic interest through financing arrangements with existing shareholders.

“With the signing of this transaction, we have successfully fulfilled our divestiture obligations,” said Richard O’Brien, president and CEO. “We are pleased to welcome PIP as a shareholder, as it will enable all levels of the Indonesian government to own a portion of PTNNT. Combined with our existing shareholders, we will create a mutually beneficial partnership as we evaluate exploration and expansion opportunities for our Indonesian assets.”

September 6, 2011

Akyem Development Advances

Akyem, Ghana

After years of research, Newmont’s board of directors approved the development of the Akyem project in Ghana. Akyem is an open pit mine estimated to contain more than 7 million ounces in gold reserves.

For Robert Kwaku Asante, it’s a dream come true. Asante is a native of Hweakwae, a nearby community affected by the project. In early 1990, he began exploring the area for gold. He hoped a mining company would acquire, develop, construct and operate the land asset into a viable socio-economic venture for the mutual benefit of his community and the company.

This dream was realized in 2007. Newmont Ghana obtained 100 percent ownership when they acquired 15 percent ownership from Kenbert. This added to the 85 percent Newmont already owned as the result of a prior merger with Normandy in 2000.

The mine created nearly 900 local jobs during construction. Some staff will transition into operations, supporting the local communities and their economies. The mine also serves as a catalyst for national development. It is bringing for the first time to Ghana – or helping to improve for the country – information technology, communications, education, technology transfer, human resource development, supply chain, electricity and health.

Since 2004, the Akyem project has been subject to a thorough environmental impact study, public consultation process and an independent review process. Project leaders engaged directly with numerous community representatives, non-government organizations, government agencies and international organizations. They listened to the concerns of the community, government and organizations about the social and environmental implications of project development. They also raised awareness about how issues are addressed.

Following completion of further economic and power analysis to ensure sustainability, the project is expected to advance to operations in late 2013 or early 2014. Akyem has an estimated mine life of 15 years.

September 6, 2011

Abandoned Mines: What You Don’t See

Elko, Nevada

Anyone driving through the state of Nevada can pass the time by counting the abandoned mines on the hillsides. Mining in the Silver State dates back more than 160 years to the mid-1800s, long before the notion of reclamation was taken seriously or even conceived.

Experts estimate that the state contains some 300,000 abandoned mines, 50,000 of which are classified as potential public hazards. The state seals or secures about 200 abandoned mines per year and has remediated only about 30 percent of the most hazardous ones known. Mines are sealed with backfill, metal gates, gratings or bat fences in an effort to keep the public safe.

On average during the past 40 years, one reported injury per year and one fatality every two to three years have been directly attributed to abandoned mines in Nevada. On rare, unfortunate occasions, people do fall down unmarked shafts accidentally, but more commonly there are those who intentionally explore old mines, putting their own safety at risk.

Enticed by the adventure of exploring the mysterious, historic shafts and tunnels, these explorers too often overlook the many hidden dangers lurking inside. Abandoned mines can have poor ground conditions that are conducive to cave-ins, open holes from uncovered workings, gases that displace the oxygen in the air and potentially harmful vermin, such as rats, mice and rattlesnakes in addition to larger animals that may attack if they feel threatened.

After accumulating 15 years of underground mine rescue experience and having been called out to more rescues and recoveries than I care to mention, I urge everyone to please stay out of abandoned mines. Even experienced rescue teams are outfitted with gas monitoring equipment, personal protective equipment and tools for checking ground conditions. Some of the most dangerous hazards that I’ve mentioned above can’t be seen with the naked eye. Abandoned mines are not play places, so please keep out.

If you are curious about underground mining, several tours are offered throughout Nevada, including some especially good ones in Virginia City and at the Eldorado Canyon Mine outside Las Vegas. Tours also are available at many of the operating mines throughout the state. Please contact the mine operators for details.

September 6, 2011

An Innovative Storage Solution in the Arctic

Hope Bay, Nunavut

The ambient winter temperatures in Hope Bay average -25 °C. The mine site falls in a unique zone where there is continuous permafrost, a condition where subsurface soil and bedrock remain at or below the point of freezing water (0 °C) for two or more years.

This provides ideal conditions at Hope Bay for the construction of a frozen core dam. These dams draw upon the cold conditions of its surroundings to create a watertight barrier using near-saturated, processed sand and gravel-sized aggregate. This is the first dam of its kind for Newmont, which will use it as an impoundment area for mine water and mill tailings.

Designed by SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc., Nuna Contracting began construction of the dam in January. Newmont’s Hope Bay project team is managing the project. Eventually, Hope Bay’s frozen core dam will turn nearby Tail Lake, located 2 kilometers from Doris Camp, into a water and tailings storage area. Additional steps to create the impoundment include removing resident fish from the lake this summer.

The dam’s foundation consists of ice-rich, saline soils that must remain at a temperature of -8 °C or less. Each layer of near-saturated aggregate is frozen before subsequent material can be placed. The dam uses self-powered refrigeration devices, known as thermosyphons, to keep the permafrost cool. Only the exterior thermal shell will thaw during the summer and freeze during the winter. Twelve thermosyphons were installed at Hope Bay’s dam to extract latent heat from the foundation to ensure the design of the dam is maintained.

The frozen core also will be protected with a geosynthetic clay liner on the upstream face. The liner protects against uncontrolled water seepage should a crack form in the frozen gravel core. The liner is a secondary component of the containment structure. The frozen core is thermally protected by transition rock and covered with run-of-quarry rock.

In late January, a laydown pad was built adjacent to the dam site to house the frozen core processing plant, a washroom trailer, a geotechnical laboratory, a generator trailer, other ancillary equipment and other core material stockpile.

Because frozen core dams rely on cold weather, this type of dam is ideal for Hope Bay. The dam has the added benefits of cost efficiency and environmental safety. Completion of the dam near Doris camp is targeted for early 2012.

September 6, 2011

Hope Bay Hosts Portal Celebration

Hope Bay, Nunavut

Local dignitaries and Newmont officials attended a daylong celebration in March to commemorate Hope Bay’s official opening of its underground portal for the Doris North gold project. The portal will provide ramp access to high-grade deposits and allow future underground exploration for the extensions of the lower and southern deposits at the site.

Hope Bay staff hosted a celebration with mayors and other dignitaries of the Kitikmeot and Natilik communities, Kitikmeot Inuit Association and Kitikmeot Corporation. A special dedication to Saint Barbera, the patron saint of miners, was conducted by Pastor Keith Lear of Cambridge Bay. The dedication emphasizes our commitment to the continued safety and well-being of all project staff. A statue of Saint Barbera will remain at the site and act as a daily reminder for all to take the appropriate safety measures during their shifts.

“We wanted to reflect on our accomplishments and celebrate success,” said Brad Skeeles, general manager of Hope Bay Mining Ltd. “I am proud of the team at the site and the support we received from North American operations, as well as the head office in Denver. Everyone had a hand in helping us to achieve a historic moment in our long future.”

The Doris Portal is fully permitted for gold mining production. Congratulations to the team and to all involved in achieving this milestone.

September 6, 2011

Vista Vein Stage 1 Project Begins

Humboldt County, Nevada

The Vista underground exploration project is moving forward. Located below the historic Vista Pit at Twin Creeks, this is the first underground project at the mine. It will be used to test high-grade underground mineralization.

Efforts began in late February to create a 1,630-foot exploration decline and about 700 feet of the drift had been completed by late April. Underground drilling is slated to begin this summer which will be a great milestone for the site.

September 6, 2011