By Beth Dodd
In early October the CC&V Gold Mine welcomed Lowe Billingsley as their new General Manager. Billingsley, a Colorado Springs native and Colorado College graduate, has worked for the mine for 25 years. He began his career with CC&V in May 1991 as an Ore Control Geologist. Since then he has also served the company as their Mine Supervisor, Chief Engineer, Manager of Technical Services, Manager of Projects, and Manager of Processing. Billingsley relocated to the regional office in Denver in August 2009 to work as Sr. Business Analyst for the mine’s parent company, AngloGold Ashanti. Before being promoted to the CC&V General Manager slot, Billingsley had spent the last three years as Vice President of Technical & Strategy with the Americas’ Regional Team based in Denver. In this role, he supported the company’s operations in Cripple Creek, Brazil, and Argentina.
Reflecting on his career with the CC &V Mine and AngloGold Ashanti, Billingsley says his fondest memories are of the friends and colleagues he has worked with over the years, and the many accomplishments that the CC&V team has achieved. He is optimistic about the future the mine and looks forward to meeting whatever challenges lie ahead in the CC&V’s future. Billingsley believes that the mine team can accomplish its objectives while maintaining safety as their first value. “This is an exciting time to be at CC&V,” said Billingsley. “The CC&V team continues do what they do best, working safely and responsibly every day. The long process of implementing our Mine Life Extension 2 is coming together, with the planned startup of the mill by the end of the year.”
Billingsley is referring to the Mine Life Extension 2 project which is expected to keep the mine producing for many more years by opening new sources of gold and adding new processing facilities. In a recent report to the Cripple Creek City Council, the CC&V’s Community Affairs Manager, Jane Mannon, discussed the projects’ progress.
According to Mannon, the realignment of CO 67 between Cripple Creek and Victor around Squaw Gulch is done and the new overlook is open. Completion of the new ore processing mill in Squaw Gulch is expected this November. The first phase of the new Valley Leach Field should be done by next November, with the first gold production starting a year after that. The second phase of the leach field construction will be finished around December 2016. The ADR plant (adsorption, desorption, and recovery), is due to begin construction in March 2015 and start operating in the second quarter of 2016.
The expansion of the mine is continuing as planned in spite of falling gold prices. Although the mine is always looking for ways to maximize efficiency, no reductions in staffing are expected. “The drop in gold prices has caused us to tighten our belts and be ever more cost conscious,” said Billingsley. “Again it is a testament to our team, including our contractors, to work safely through the disruption of our day-to-day operations caused by the construction, while remaining focused on our goal of conscientiously mining gold in the historic mining district.”
When asked how his management of the mine will compare with his predecessor’s, Billingsley noted that he is more familiar with the company and the strategic plan for the mine. As general manager, it is his role to shape organizational culture and plan for the future, but that doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It is informed by day to day happenings, and internal and external factors. These include the needs of the mine, the company, and the gold industry, as well as the price of gold.
Billingsley also plans to continue the popular educational programs offered through the mine’s information center in Cripple Creek, although they may look at the scale and scope of the programs to ensure that they are addressing the needs of the community and the mine.