Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM), the biggest U.S. gold producer, said it expects a government-commissioned review of its suspended Conga project in Peru will be completed “in the next few weeks.”
Newmont stopped construction at Conga in November following clashes between police and opponents of the proposed mine. Consultants from Spain and Portugal hired by Peru started a review of an existing environmental impact assessment, or EIA, on Feb. 27.
“When that’s done, hopefully we will be able to move forward with this project,” Chief Executive Officer Richard O’Brien said in a March 27 interview with Bloomberg Television’s Margaret Brennan. The project may be “slightly modified” as a result of the assessment, he said.
The cost of building the mine in the northern Andes mountains will probably rise to $4.5 billion to $5 billion from an original estimate of $4 billion to $4.5 billion, O’Brien said.
Newmont may increase spending on projects in Nevada, Australia, Ghana and Indonesia if it’s unable to continue developing the Peruvian mine, the Greenwood Village, Colorado- based company said in January.
Conga may yield as much as 680,000 ounces of gold and 235 million pounds of copper annually in its first five years, Cia. de Minas Buenaventura SA, Newmont’s Peruvian partner in the project, said in July.
Gold prices will probably be “pretty volatile” for the rest of 2012, O’Brien said in the interview.
“I think we will see some upside, over $1,900 this year still to come,” he said.
Gold futures for June delivery fell 0.3 percent to settle at $1,654.90 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Newmont declined 0.3 percent to $51.34.