To a casual observer, mining gold seems simple: find ore, extract it then process it into gold. However, this isn’t the case since mining for gold is a more complex process which occurs in stages.
Before the precious metal can be extracted, firms are required to explore the area in order to accurately determine the size of the deposit and how the ore can be extracted and processed responsibly, safely and efficiently.
It takes one to two decades before a gold mine is ready to produce raw material which can be refined.
Below we look at the first three life-cycle stages involved in gold mining.
- The Exploration Stage
This stage is challenging and requires expertise in disciplines like engineering, geology and geography, sufficient financial resources and a lot of time.
During this stage, the feasibility of the body of ore is evaluated and its body modelled once facts about possibly viable deposits and the local geology are established. This exploration phase can take up to a decade to complete.
- The Development Stage
This is the second stage of the process of mining gold. Here, plans are drawn up and the mine as well as associated infrastructure is constructed.
However, before construction can begin, mining firms must first acquire the appropriate licenses and permits, which may take a few years, depending on the location.
Under this stage, mining firms may sometimes construct local amenities and infrastructure to support community and employee welfare as well as meeting both operational and logistical needs.
- The Operation Stage
This stage represents the productive life of a mine. It is at this stage that the ore is extracted and processed into the precious metal. Processing involved the transformation of ore and rock into a metallic alloy known as doré, which usually contains 60% to 90% of the precious metal.
Factors like input costs or the price of gold may, during the life of a mine, influence which areas of an ore body are considered profitable to mine.
When prices are high, mining low-grade ore is more profitable as the high prices offset the increased costs of extracting and milling higher volumes.
On the other hand, when the costs rise and prices reduce, mining firms extract and process high-grade ore as it is deemed to be more profitable.
- The Decommissioning Stage
When the ore deposit becomes uneconomic to mine or the ore is exhausted, a mine ceases operation and begins to decommission, dismantle and rehabilitate the land in and surrounding the mine.
- The Post-Closure Stage
At this stage, mining firms are required to monitor and assume responsibility for managing a site after mine closure for a 5 to 10-year period. This is to ensure that long-term environmental stability and land reclamation is successful.
Firms like GoldHaven Resources Corp. (CSE: GOH) (OTCQB: GHVNF) that are willing to invest lots of time, money and other resources as they navigate all the stages above deserve plaudits since there are no guarantees, especially in the initial stages, that economically viable deposits will be found and that they will pay back what has been invested.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to GoldHaven Resources Corp. (CSE: GOH) (OTCQB: GHVNF) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/GHVNF
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