Precious Metals

Firms issue report on French Guiana gold mining

Millions of ounces of gold awaiting extraction rest under the ground at Montagne d'Or (Golden Mountain) in French Guiana.

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Canadian-based Columbus Gold and Russian-based Nordgold issued the results of a feasibility study into a joint gold mining operation, Montagne d'Or, in French Guiana.

Montagne d'Or translates from French to English as “Golden Mountain.” Initial capital expenditures have been announced at $361 million in U.S. dollars.

The feasibility study, which took three years to complete, suggests a life-of-mine production of approximately 2.57 million ounces at an annual average of 214,000 ounces for 12 years. The firms expect an average gold recovery of 93.8 percent of a potential 2.75 million ounces, at an “all-in” sustaining cost of $749 per ounce. Nordgold holds 55.01 percent of the company, with the remaining 44.99 percent controlled by Columbus Gold.

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The mining venture is not expected to be hampered by concerns over the use of cyanide in the extraction process. Extraction of gold from low-grade ore using cyanide in the leaching process is the most commonly used leaching process for gold extraction.

Columbus Gold officials explain that, while concerns were registered that cyanide had been banned by the European Union, a proposed ban was rejected by the European Commission in 2010 and again in 2017.

French Guiana is the only territory of the mainland Americas that is still part of a European country, France.

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