RANKED: Largest Gold Mines In South America – 2019

Paracatu mine jumped from third to first place in one year.

The following is the list of top five largest gold mines in South America created by Mines and Metals on the basis of corporate reports.

With 620 kozt of gold mined in 2019, Kinross’ Paracatu mine in Brazil was the largest gold producing center in South America, followed by Barrick’s Veladero mine (548 kozt) in Argentina and Newmont’s Yanacocha mine (527 kozt) in Peru. Fourth largest gold operation in South America was Newmont’s Merian mine (524 kozt) in Suriname. Newmont’ Cerro Negro mine (~489 kozt) in Argentina is closing the top five list.

The detailed analysis is below.

Largest gold mines in South America. Source: Mines and Metals.

Cerro Negro’s 2019 gold output assumed the same as in 2018, because production data from Jan.1 2019 until Newmont’s acquisition date (April 2019) is not available.

1.Paracatu. 620 kozt in 2019.

Kinross’ Paracatu gold mine is located in Brazil, north of Paracatu city and nearly 230km from the capital city of Brazil, Brasília. Paracatu is the largest gold mine in South America and one of the largest in the world. Paracatu had an outstanding year in 2019, achieving record annual production of 619,563 Au while lowering costs. The strong performance was mainly due to an asset optimization program started in 2018, which resulted in improved mill efficiencies and an enhanced understanding of the orebody. 

2.Veladero. 548 kozt in 2019.

The Veladero mine is located in San Juan Province, Argentina, in the highly prospective Frontera District. The property is located at elevations of 4,000 to 4,850 meters above sea level, approximately 374 kilometers northwest of the city of San Juan. Veladero is a 50/50 joint venture operation with Shandong Gold. In 2007, Barrick Gold installed the world’s highest-altitude wind turbine at the Veladero mine at nearly 4,200m elevation.

3.Yanacocha. 527 kozt in 2019.

Yanacocha gold mine is located in the province and department of Cajamarca, approximately 800 kilometers northeast of Lima, Peru. Yanacocha’s operations are situated between 3,500 and 4,100 meters above sea level with development activities in four primary basins. The operation is a joint venture between Newmont (51.35%), Minas Buenaventura (43.65%) and the International Finance Corporation (5%). The mine poured its first gold ore bar on August 7, 1993.

4.Merian. 524 kozt in 2019.

The Merian gold mine is located approximately 60 km south of Moengo, Suriname. Newmont Suriname (previously known as Suriname Gold Company) is a fully-owned subsidiary of Newmont that is operated on behalf of Suriname Gold Project CV, a Suriname limited partnership. Construction of Merian commenced in August 2014, and commercial production was achieved on October 1, 2016, on schedule and US$150 million under budget.

5.Cerro Negro. 489 kozt in 2019 (assumed).

Newmont’s Cerro Negro gold mine sits 600 metres above sea level on the low Patagonian plains in southern Argentina. It’s a six hour drive southwest from Comodoro Rivadavia, itself a two and a half hour flight south of Buenos Aires. Cerro Negro’s first gold pour was on July 25, 2014, and it achieved commercial production on January 1, 2015. The extensive complex includes five high grade underground mines (Eureka, Mariana Central, Mariana Norte, San Marcos, Bajo Negro), one open pit mine (Vein Zone) and one cyanide leach processing facility that yields gold recoveries of 96%. Ore is mined from Eureka and Mariana Central.

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