Barrick Gold has ceased new underground development at its Golden Sunlight mine located in Jefferson County in southwestern Montana, US.

The company noted that the Golden Sunlight mine has been approaching the end of its operational life in recent years and its remaining gold reserves are nearly depleted.

Barrick’s latest move comes following a detailed review of the mine, which revealed that the operation only has limited access to existing mining areas.

The company has scheduled a final mill run to process gold ore for May this year.

Barrick said in a statement: “Our workforce and community partners’ interests remain a priority and we will continue with responsible environmental stewardship and management of our social and economic commitments as we work through this evaluation process.

“In the coming months, Barrick will review the findings from these different work streams and determine the path forward for the operation, at which time a further update will be communicated.”

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“Barrick will review the findings from these different work streams and determine the path forward for the operation.”

Underground and surface exploration drilling at the Golden Sunlight mine will continue and focus on the southern extension of its vein. The company will complete metallurgical test work and a structural geological model associated with the APEX target.

Barrick will also assess the potential to reprocess historic tailings and plans to carry out hydrological and geochemical studies to support ongoing water treatment and reclamation work at the Golden Sunlight mine.

The proven and probable gold reserves at Golden Sunlight are estimated at 20,000oz, gold resources at 164,000oz and inferred gold resources at 84,000oz.