Americas Silver counting on Relief Canyon gold

Americas Silver counting on Relief Canyon gold

Americas Silver counting on Relief Canyon gold

Americas Silver officials said mining should soon be underway at the Relief Canyon Mine and the first gold pour in years could happen before the end of 2019 according to the company’s second quarter report. Last year, Americas Silver took over Relief Canyon from Pershing Gold.

“Construction is proceeding as expected at the Relief Canyon Mine with leach pad activities progressing, mobilization of the mining contractor expected later this week and all fabrication work on the crusher and conveyors progressing to meet scheduled delivery in the third quarter,” Americas Silver announced on July 30. “First gold pour is expected in late Q4, 2019.”

The resurrection of Relief Canyon Mine has been long awaited after the mine was purchased by Pershing Gold in 2011. Mine financing no longer seems to be an issue but a sudden downturn in gold prices could impact the reactivation schedule. However, last week, the price of gold was up and, as of late Friday afternoon, was over $1,441 per ounce. On August 22, 2011, 

the price of gold hit an all-time high of $1,917.90 per ounce before dropping back down to about $1,880.

Ledcor Group is the contractor responsible for ore extraction and processing. The company’s website says its services “reach across the lifespan of a mine from facility construction to full-scale contract mining of gold, minerals or metals all the way to mine reclamation.”

Ledcor Field Employee Coordinator Valerie Fisher said she’s working directly with the Project Manager to fill the current and future positions at Relief Canyon Mine. Now there is a day shift crew only but, in January, the mine will be running 24/7 with rotating shifts. Work schedules will be “five days on, four days off,” Fisher said on Friday.

“We are looking for Excavator/Loader Operators, Haul Truck Drivers, Laborers, Dozer Operators, Graders, Drillers and Maintenance Techs. Surface MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) is a prerequisite for employment,” Fisher said in the email. “Any Heavy Equipment Operators or Mechanics, we prefer a minimum two years of experience. “We can hire a small amount of people that are brand new to mining if they have their current MSHA and are trainable.”

Other requirements are successful completion of pre-employment drug, alcohol and physical capability testing and candidates must have and maintain a valid drivers license, Fisher said.

Ledcor mining jobs currently listed online for the Reno area include Safety Coordinator-Mine Construction, Project Engineer-Mining, Project Manager-Mining, Project Accountant, Shift Supervisor, Project Coordinator and Recruiter. Due to a large number of applications received at various job fairs, the Relief Canyon Mine jobs were not posted on Ledcor’s website, Fisher said.

The company held a local job fair in June at the Pershing County Community Center in Lovelock but attendance was low according to Community Center Director Dixie McKay. Fisher told McKay last week that there may be another job fair in four to six weeks at the community center.

Meanwhile, Fisher asked those seeking a job at the mine to send her their resume. Fisher’s email is and her Reno office phone number is 775-689-4948.

As mining ramps up at Relief Canyon so will the level of employment, Fisher said. From now until October, there is one crew of 10 employees, in November there will be two crews with 24 employees, in December there will be three crews with 45 workers, in January/February there will be three crews with 75 workers, in March to July there will be four crews with 103 workers.

According to the company’s website, Ledcor has been hiring equipment operators, truck drivers, drillers and other skilled workers for another open-pit gold mine operation in northern Nevada.

“Ledcor is ramping up operations as the mining contractor for Midway’s open pit Pan Project at the northern end of the Pancake Mountain Range in western White Pine County, Nevada...Ledcor will provide all of the workforce and equipment necessary for drilling, blasting, loading and hauling ore from two open pits to be processed on a central leach pad, including personnel staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Once in full operation, we will be moving approximately 1.8 million metric tons of ore and waste per month.”

Pershing Gold Corporation is also hiring for the Relief Canyon Mine according to a classified ad published in the Lovelock Review-Miner last week. Positions include electrician, human resources representative, instrumentation and electrical technician, mine geologist, ore control geologist, process and crusher operator, process supervisor, staff accountant and surveyor.

Anyone interested in one of those jobs may send their resume to

Americas Silver reported second quarter production of 345,695 ounces of silver, 11,150,174 pounds of zinc and 7,237,607 pounds of lead at its silver mines in Mexico and Idaho. The report indicates the importance to the company of the resurrected gold mine at Relief Canyon Mine.

“The Company remains on target to achieve its full year production and cost guidance despite the expected lower production from the Galena Complex and lower realized metal prices in the quarter,” said Americas Silver President and CEO Darren Blasutti. “The second half of 2019 will be a very exciting period for our company as we expect not only higher silver production but, most importantly, first gold pour from the Relief Canyon Mine.”

According to Mining Journal, Relief Canyon could produce over 90,000 ounces of gold a year for 5.5 years at AISC (All In Sustaining Cost) of about $800 per ounce. Blasutti said the mine is expected to make “a material difference to the company’s cash flow and market standing.”

“Previous mining at Relief Canyon meant Pershing, and now Americas Silver, inherited significant infrastructure that probably carved 50-70% off the pre-production capex for a comparable operation,” the Mining Journal reported last week. “The mine is near Lovelock and about 100 miles northeast of Reno.”