In mining, grade is king. Across the commodity spectrum, some of the most anticipated results — which can determine the scope of a mining project — are assay values from drill testing.
As one of mining’s most influential figures, Robert Friedland, sums it up:
“Mining 101. High grade is good. Low grade is bad.”
“The higher the grade, the smaller the environmental footprint, Friedland has said. “The higher the grade, the smaller the plant; the less the electrical consumption, the smaller the labour force, the smaller the tailings pond, the less the global warming gas per unit of metal produced.”
The value of the ore is calculated by multiplying the contained metals and minerals per tonne in the proven and probable reserves by the ruling price for the commodities.
Silver and gold shine on the top ten list of mines with the most valuable ore, compiled with data provided by our sister company Miningintelligence.
Top listed uranium producer Cameco’s Cigar Lake uranium mine in Canada’s Saskatchewan province takes top spot with ore reserves valued at $9,105 per tonne, totaling $4.3 billion. After a six-month pandemic induced halt, Cameco restarted operations at Cigar Lake in April.
Pan American Silver’s Cap-Oeste Sur Este (COSE) mine in Argentina is in second place, with ore reserves valued at $1,606 per tonne, totaling $60 million.
In third place is Alphamin Resources’ Bisie tin mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which saw record production in Q420, with ore reserves valued at $1,560 per tonne, totaling $5.2 billion. Fourth place goes to Alexco Resource Corp’s Bellekeno silver mine in Canada’s Yukon territory, with ore reserves valued at $1,314 per tonne for a total value of $20 million.
Kirkland Lake Gold, which recently merged with Agnico Eagle takes two spots in the top ten list, for its Macassa gold mine in Canada and Fosterville gold mine in Australia at fifth and sixth places, respectively. Fosterville’s ore reserves are valued at $915 per tonne for a total of $5.45 billion.
In seventh place is Glencore’s Shaimerden Zinc mine in Kazakhstan, with ore reserves valued at $874.7 million for a total value of $1.05 billion. Alexco Resource Corp’s takes another spot with Flame and Moth silver mine in the Yukon territory with ore reserves valued at $846.9 per tonne, for a total value of $610 million.
Rounding out the top ten are Hecla Mining’s Greens Creek silver-zinc mine in Alaska with ore reserves valued at $844 per tonne for a total value of $6.88 billion. Western Areas Spotted Quoll nickel mine in Australia with ore reserves valued at $821 per tonne — a total value of $1.31 billion.
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