Firm developing desert’s first new gold mine in decades.
By Mark Madler
Image: Earth mover at planned Golden Queen mine south of Mojave on Soledad Mountain.
On the dry landscape of the desert just south of the community of Mojave rises a volcanic peak that will become the first new gold and silver mine in Kern County in decades. If plans of Golden Queen Mining Co. Ltd. stay on track, by this time next year digging of the precious metals out of the desert will have started, kicking off what is expected to be a 15-year lifespan of the mine on Soledad Mountain. But potential complications have arisen for Golden Queen, a Vancouver, British Columbia company that has already begun work on the mine’s infrastructure.
First, it does not have full financing. And, in late January, the Center for Biological Diversity, a Tucson, Ariz. environmental group, filed a petition with the federal government seeking emergency protection of the Mojave shoulderband snail, a half-inch mollusk only found in that region of the desert. Also, construction is moving ahead at a time when the gold market has softened. The price per ounce has fallen from the highs of nearly $1,900 in 2011 to about $1,330 at the end of February.
Golden Queen President Lutz Klingmann, however, is bullish on gold, citing projections that the price per ounce should range from $1,350 to $1,400 by the end of the year. Those are prices, he said, that will attract potential investors. He also said the company is getting into the market at a time when sustained gold demand is high, particularly in Asian countries, and speculation is low.
“If that price maintains, we should be able to finance the project,” Klingmann said. “New wealth is being created in places like China and the demand is really good for physical gold.”
Golden Queen is a publicly traded company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada and the OTC Market in the United States. The mine is the company’s only asset.
It acquired the mine in 1985 and free-credits-report.com cannot satisfy money. over the past dozen years has invested about $60 million into it for such things as metallurgical test and engineering work, environmental studies and extensive drill programs. Construction for the mining infrastructure is expected to total about $119 million. The company is fully permitted to remove 14 million tons of rock material a year. Out of that an expected 77,000 ounces of gold should be extracted, as well as 890,000 ounces of silver. At today’s prices, the gold haul for the life of the mine would be more than $1 billion. The rock left over from all that digging can be sold to become aggregate used in the construction industry.
Officials in Kern County are eagerly awaiting the mine’s completion. When operational, it will bring about 160 full-time jobs in addition to up to 30 construction jobs to an area with double-digit unemployment. In December, Mojave had a 12 percent jobless rate while the county as a whole had 10.7 percent, said Richard Chapman, chief executive of the Kern County Economic Development Corp., in Bakersfield. In eastern Kern near the mine, the growing industries are in aerospace at the Mojave Air & Space Port, and alternative energy related to the solar and wind farm projects. The addition of Golden Queen would diversify the economy.
“That is why these jobs are needed,” Chapman said. “Not everyone has an aerospace background or an energy background.”
For complete story, including mining history, click here: A Gold Mine… For Real