Northern Vertex declares commercial production at Moss Mine
BULLHEAD CITY — Northern Vertex Mining Corp. officials announced Tuesday commercial production at Moss Gold Mine as of Sept. 1.
Northern Vertex, the parent company of Golden Vertex Corp., is the owner of Moss Mine, an open-pit gold and silver mining operation off Silver Creek Road east of Bullhead City. The company announced the mine’s first gold pour in March.
“Commercial production is a significant milestone for our team of approximately 100 men and women operating the Moss Gold Mine,” said Ken Berry, Northern Vertex Corp. president and chief executive officer in a release from the company. “In less than two years we were successful in obtaining financing, completing construction and achieving commercial rates of production.”
Commercial production in an industrial or mining plant typically is declared when the plant reaches 75 percent of rated capacity on a consistent basis, said Joseph Bardswich, Golden Vertex Mining Corp. director and president.
The company reported crushing teams delivered a record day of 13,000 metric tons versus the 5,000 tons per day envisioned in the feasibility study.
“It was projected to take nine months,” Bardswich said. “The feasibility study envisioned us as starting off at 3,000 tons per day, then upping it to 4,500, then upping it to 5,000 metric tons. We had a best day of 13,000 which is more than double (the projection) — we’re not going to hit 13,000 on an average basis because there is a lot of maintenance on a crushing plant and you have to take time for that, but we’re going to average at least 6,500 U.S. tons, about 20 percent higher than was projected in the feasibility study.”
One U.S. ton is equivalent to about 0.91 metric tons.
“We’ve built a great operations team over the past 12 months and being able to push through commissioning to achieve commercial production is proof-positive of it,” said Bill Martinich, Moss Mine general manager. “Continued performance of the team at this level will enable us to exceed the gold production forecast in the feasibility study over the next two years.”
The company expects production between 32,000-36,000 gold ounces in fiscal year 2019 and 52,000-57,000 gold ounces in fiscal year 2020. The company’s fiscal year ends June 30; fiscal 2019 includes 10 months of production after commercial production.
“Ken and Bill give credit to the operating crews that we have,” Bardswich said. “They overcame an awful lot of problems and it’s a real testament to the perseverance and competence of the people involved.”
The Oatman and Katherine mineral districts, which in part comprise what is officially the San Francisco Mining District, have produced more than $30 million worth of gold and silver since their discovery by soldiers stationed at Camp Mohave in 1862, according to the Arizona Geological Survey.
“Our original permits through the feasibility study was a five-year forecast,” Bardswich said. “We’re working on permitting out to get another five years tacked on the end of that.”
With modern exploration techniques, the company intends to find more ore, Bardswich said.
“This whole Oatman mineral district has been under-explored, and I’m talking from about the Civil War era when they first discovered it, up through the big discoveries that were in 1900 and the Gold Road,” he said. “We have a large land package when it comes to mineral rights and we haven’t scratched the surface yet, so we’ll be here for a while and those jobs are going to be long-term jobs.”
Good news for the mine is also good news for the community, Bardswich said.
“We try to be unobtrusive in terms of noise from blasting, in terms of dust control — all those things. We’ve gone out of our way to spend extra money to put in a dust collection system on the crusher, to use water sprays in addition to the dust collectors, things like that and I think we’ve done a real good job of being unobtrusive — a lot of people don’t know where the mine is. But when you’re moving 13,000 tons a day and you’re only 6 miles from the Bullhead Parkway, that’s a testament to our success in being low impact.”