The world’s highest cost gold mines in Q1 2020

Aurelia Metals’ Peak mine in Australia was the highest cost gold operation worldwide in Q1 2020. 98% of all gold mines and a half of the top ten highest cost gold mines reported positive AISC margins in Q1.

Previously, Mines and Metals ranked the top ten lowest cost gold mines in Q1 2020. Let’s now look at what is going on the opposite side of the spectrum.

The following is an overview of the top ten highest cost gold operations in the world during Q1 2020 created by Mines and Metals on the basis of companies’ reports.

Mines and Metals looked at costs at operating gold mines worldwide in Q1 2020 using all-in sustaining costs (AISC) metric that serves as a globally accepted benchmark of a mine’s operating efficiency.

Peak mine, Aurelia Metals’ gold and base metals mine in Australia, tops the list of highest cost gold operations in the world with AISC of $2,864/oz in Q1 2020. AISC soared at the Peak mine due to reduced throughput from plant upgrade tie-ins and shaft outage.

Newmont’s Musselwhite mine in Canada is second highest cost gold mine worldwide with AISC of $2,602/oz in Q1 2020. Main reasons of poor performance at Musselwhite were continuing rehabilitation of the underground conveyor following the fire in March 2019 and suspension of operations on March 22, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prestea mine, owned by Golden Star and located in Ghana, is third highest cost gold mine worldwide with AISC of $2,248/oz in Q1 2020. AISC per ounce increased 21% year-over-year mainly due to lower gold sales as a result of lower underground production and the shipment deferral of the last shipment in Q1 2020 which amounted to 528 ounces. Furthermore, increased sustaining capital costs and corporate general and administrative costs allocated to sites on a sold ounce basis have negatively impacted on Prestea AISC.

McEwen’ Gold Bar mine in the United States is fourth with AISC of $2,177/oz in Q1 2020. On March 26, 2020 McEwen made the decision to temporary scale back operations at the Gold Bar mine due to concerns related to COVID-19 and maintaining social distancing requirements. This, coupled with the expected significant resource reduction, significantly impacted performance at the Gold Bar mine.

Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu mine in South Africa is fifth highest cost gold mine with $1,908/oz AISC in Q1 2020. Cost performance at Kusasalethu was negatively impacted by geological challenges and seismicity.

Due to surge in gold prices, half of the top ten highest cost gold mines and 98% of all mines reported AISC costs have demonstrated positive AISC margins.

The complete list is below.

Highest cost gold mines worldwide: Q1 2020 Overview. Source: Mines and Metals.

MineCountryOwner AISC in Q1 2020, $/oz
1Peak MinesAustraliaAurelia Metals 2,864
2MusselwhiteCanadaNewmont 2,602
3PresteaGhanaGolden Star 2,248
4Gold BarUnited StatesMcEwen 2,177
5KusasalethuSouth AfricaHarmony Gold 1,908
6MercedesMexicoPremier Gold 1,883
7Red ChrisCanadaNewcrest 1,844
8El Valle-Boinas/CarlesSpainOrvana 1,765
9Rainy RiverCanadaNew Gold 1,755
10KarouniGuyanaTroy Resources 1,744

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