Published Feb. 13, 2012
Updated studies of mineral resources at the Haile Gold Mine in Lancaster County indicate there is 29%, or 916,000, more ounces of gold at the site than previous estimates.
Total gold resources at the mine near Kershaw stand at 4 million ounces — both measured and indicated — plus another 800,000 ounces of inferred resources, according to the mine’s owner, Romarco Minerals Inc.
“This is a very significant system in South Carolina,” said Diane Garrett, president and CEO of Romarco. “This really puts South Carolina on the map as having a world-class ore deposit.”
The increase estimate is based on additional drilling at the 4,000-acre mine, which had been abandoned for a couple of decades before Romarco reopened it in 2010.
The latest results indicate that the mine has a much larger ore deposit than initially believed, Garrett added.
“We’ve done a lot of drilling to further define the continuity of the ounces,” Garrett said.
Continued exploration of the site indicates that much of the ore can be mined by open-pit methods, although it appears a considerable amount is underground.
Garrett said mining underground deposits is a more expensive process.
Romarco is still waiting on the final version of the Environmental Impact Statement from the Army Corps of Engineers. Once it gets the go ahead from the government, Romarco can shift into high gear and begin mining the site.
If everything goes as planned, Romarco expects to begin in September hiring 300 to 350 full-time employees and contractors to work on the site, Garrett said.
They will be joining 124 employees who already are at the site, Garrett added.
While Romarco is a registered Canadian company, Garrett said, its seven-member executive staff now is located in Fort Mill.
So far, Romarco has spent $300 million on the Haile Gold Mine and will spend another $300 million on the project before production begins, she said.
“By the time we pour the first bar of gold, we will have put $600 million into the ground before making the first dollar,” she said.
Until a few years ago, the Kershaw gold mine was dormant, the victim of rising production costs.
But thanks to technology advances and soaring gold prices, Romarco believes the mine can be producing 140,000 ounces of gold annually for at least 12 years.