Goldstrike TCM Leach Project

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  • CommodityGold
  • LocationElko, Nevada, USA
  • Business lineMinerals & Metals
  • ClientBarrick Gold
  • Timeframe2011 - 2015
  • Solution phaseCreate (EPCM)
  • Project valueUS$620m
  • ServicesProgram management, Engineering, Global procurement, Construction management, Commissioning, EPC/EPCM

Successful gold production using patented thiosulfate processing method

Ausenco has been involved in Barrick’s gold processing operations at the Goldstrike Mine for nearly a decade.

Goldstrike is Barrick’s largest and most productive mining operation, with gold production of more than 40 million ounces since 1987. It is located on the Carlin Trend, approximately 40 km north-west of Elko, Nevada, USA.

Ausenco provided a scoping study, followed by a feasibility study for the Project, with the objective of improving the gold recovery process for double refractory ores processed in the Autoclave Facility. Subsequently, in 2011, Barrick retained Ausenco to provide the project management, detailed engineering (including engineering scopes of work for the construction packages), procurement, and expediting and logistics for the equipment supply; and dry and wet commissioning for the Project with support during ore commissioning. The initiative, known as the TCM (total carbonaceous matter) project, involved a $620 million investment that included major upgrades to the Goldstrike leaching circuits and new infrastructure.

Ausenco provided construction management services on site. We mobilised experts from our international offices and key members of the project team from our Vancouver office to lead a site team of approximately 60 people, mainly comprised of local hires from Nevada and neighbouring states.

The team managed a peak construction workforce of approximately 1,000 people, working for eight direct sub-contractors, to deliver earthworks; concrete works and protection; site tank fabrication; structural, mechanical and piping erection; and electrical and instrumentation installation. This project involved managing 65 procurement packages as well as 15 contracts.

Ausenco completed commissioning of the works prior to handover of the facility to the client for operation.

Project highlights:

  • More than 3,150,000 man-hours completed on site with LTIFR of 0.11 and TRIFR of 0.75, both significantly lower than MSHA Metal and Non-Metal mines averages for 2013 and 2014
  • Commissioning milestone for First Gold successfully achieved
  • Complex brownfield demolition, construction and tie-in works completed with minimal unplanned interruption to operations
  • World’s first use of resin in leach technology for thiocyanate leach
  • Worked within very prescriptive MHSA regulations
  • The TCM project required:
    • 4,000 tons of steel,
    • 18,0000 cubic metres of concrete,
    • 275,000+ metres of cable, and
    • 60,000+ metres of piping.
  • At peak construction, more than 20 companies worked on the project
  • The success of the TCM project will allow Barrick to realise cash flow from about four million ounces of stockpiled ore that would otherwise have been processed at the end of Goldstrike’s mine life.