Coeur d’Alene Mines Corporation is primarily a silver producer with a growing gold production profile. The Company is located in North America and is engaged, through its subsidiaries, in the operation and ownership, development and exploration of silver and gold mining properties and companies located primarily within South America (Chile, Argentina and Bolivia), Mexico (Chihuahua), United States (Nevada and Alaska) and Australia (New South Wales). Coeur d’Alene Mines Corporation and its subsidiaries are hereinafter referred to collectively as “Coeur” or the “Company.” Coeur is an Idaho corporation incorporated in 1928.
OVERVIEW OF MINING PROPERTIES AND INTERESTS
The Company’s most significant operating and development-stage mining properties and interests are:
•Coeur owns, either directly or indirectly, 100% of Coeur Mexicana S.A. de C.V., which operates the underground and surface Palmarejo silver and gold mine in Mexico. The Palmarejo mine poured its first silver/gold doré on March 30, 2009 and began shipping doré on April 16, 2009. Palmarejo produced 3.0 million ounces of silver and 54,740 gold ounces during this initial year of operation. During 2009, the Company increased reserves at Palmarejo by 49.6% or 31.5 silver ounces and 54.0% or 408,000 gold ounces after giving effect for the 2009 production. The Company also controls other exploration-stage properties in northern Mexico. On January 21, 2009, the Company entered into a gold production royalty transaction with Franco-Nevada Corporation under which Franco-Nevada purchased a royalty covering 50% of the life of mine gold to be produced by Coeur from its Palmarejo silver and gold mine in Mexico. The royalty is payable when the market price per ounce of gold is greater than $400.00.
•Coeur owns, either directly or indirectly, 100% of Empresa Minera Manquiri S.A., a Bolivian company that controls the mining rights for the San Bartolomé mine, which is a surface silver mine in Bolivia where commercial production commenced in June 2008. San Bartolomé produced 7.5 million ounces of silver during its first full year of operation in 2009. The mine plan has been temporarily adjusted during a temporary suspension of mining above 4,400 meters while stability studies of the Cerro Rico Mountain are undertaken by COMIBOL. Mining continues on the remainder of the property.
•The Company owns 100% of Coeur Alaska, Inc., which owns the Kensington property, an advanced underground gold property located north of Juneau, Alaska, which is an advanced development-stage underground gold property. Construction activities have recommenced at the Kensington mine and production is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2010. A lawsuit was filed in 2005 in Federal Court challenging a permit necessary for construction of a tailings facility at the Kensington property. During 2008, the Company completed all surface facility construction activities not impacted by the legal challenge. On June 22, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that invalidated the previously issued U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permit for the tailings facility for the Kensington gold mine, and on August 14, 2009, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers re-activated the Company’s 404 permit clearing the way for construction at the tailings facility to continue.
•The Company owns 100% of Coeur Rochester, Inc., which has owned and operated the Rochester mine, a silver and gold surface mining operation located in northwestern Nevada since 1986. The active mining of ore at the Rochester mine was completed during 2007; however, silver and gold production is expected to continue through 2014 as a result of continuing heap leaching operations. During 2009, the Company completed a technical and economic evaluation of an expansion of mining operations at its Rochester mine. This study envisions an average of 2.9 million ounces of incremental annual silver production and 30,000 ounces of further gold production through 2017. The Company expects to complete the permitting necessary for construction of facilities to restart active mining in the second half of 2010. Rochester produced 2.2 million ounces of silver and 12,663 ounces of gold in 2009.
•Coeur owns, either directly or indirectly, 100% of the capital stock of Coeur Argentina S.R.L., which owns and operates the underground high-grade silver and gold Martha mine located in Santa Cruz, Argentina. Mining operations commenced at the Martha mine in June 2002. In 2007, the Company built a stand-alone mill to process ore from the Martha mine which previously was transported to its Cerro Bayo mine in Chile for processing. The Company carries on an active exploration program at its Martha mine and on its other exploration properties in Santa Cruz, which totals over 560 square miles. During 2009, Martha produced 3.7 million ounces of silver, the most in its history. Due to depletion of the ore reserve at the Martha mine, the Company expects operating activities will cease in late 2010, unless additional mineralization is discovered during the year.
•In May 2005, the Company acquired, for $44.0 million, all of the silver production and reserves (up to 20.0 million payable ounces) contained at the Endeavor mine in Australia, which is owned and operated by Cobar Operations Pty. Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBH Resources Ltd. (“CBH”). The Endeavor mine is an underground zinc, lead and silver mine located in New South Wales, Australia, which has been in production since 1983. Endeavor produced 461,800 ounces of silver in 2009.
•Coeur owns, either directly or indirectly, 100% of Compania Minera Cerro Bayo Limitada, which controls the Cerro Bay mine in southern Chile. Cerro Bay comprises a gold and silver underground mine and processing facilities. The ore deposits at the Cerro Bayo districts were discovered in the late 1990’s and exploration discoveries have been made consistently from then to the present. Operations commenced in 1995 and continued uninterrupted until 2000 when a brief production hiatus occurred. That same year new deposits were discovered and production recommenced there in late 2001 and ore processing restarted in April 2002. The Company carries on an active exploration program on its 132 square mile (34,106 hectares) property package encompassing the mine and mill complex and exploration area. During the fourth quarter of 2008, the Company suspended operations at Cerro Bayo in order to conserve existing reserves and to focus on exploration and development of new discoveries and existing veins. The suspension resulted in no silver and gold production in 2009.
•Effective July 1, 2009, the Company sold its 100% interest in silver contained at the Broken Hill mine for $55.0 million in cash to Perilya Broken Hill Ltd.
Coeur also has interests in other properties that are subject to silver or gold exploration activities upon which no minable ore reserves have yet been delineated.
EXPLORATION STAGE MINING PROPERTIES
The Company, either directly or through wholly-owned subsidiaries, owns, leases and has interests in certain exploration-stage mining properties located in the United States, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico and Tanzania. During 2010, the Company expects to invest approximately $17.9 million in exploration and reserve development compared to $18.9 million spent on similar activities in 2009.
The Company’s business strategy is to discover, acquire, develop and operate low-cost silver and gold operations that will produce long-term cash flow, provide opportunities for growth through continued exploration, and generate superior and sustainable returns for shareholders.
The number of full-time employees at the Company as of December 31, 2009 was: 1294.