Official Details Unveiled for Newmont’s CC&V Exit Plans

Sale of Gold Mine Operation Expected to Get Finalized in 2024

Rick Langenberg

It’s now official: the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine (CC&V), one of Teller County’s biggest employers, will have a new owner possibly by the end of the year.

But many questions still persist over the timeline of this operational change, and the impact on forthcoming CC&V ventures and community contributions and its 400-plus employee base.

During a briefing by representatives of Newmont’s Cripple Creek & Victor (CC&V) Gold Mine before the city council on May 1, company officials briefly outlined plans for a new amendment and their current operational pursuits, reclamation activities, historic preservation enhancement and more.

But the main question that commanded central attention was raised by Cripple Creek Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Brown: Is the mine still for sale? This has been the question posed by community leaders and residents for months, with no shortage of rumors and considerable speculation.

The company’s basic answer was “Yes,” but many steps must take place and such a deal won’t occur overnight. Based on the outline provided by CC/V’s new general manager, Johan Van Huyssteen,  their property is one of approximately six that the Newmont Corporation is seeking to divest. The move has been described by Newmont executives as more of an overall corporate strategy decision. The Newmont properties on the slicing block are considered lower-producing properties. Altogether, the company, the largest gold mining company in the world, with a corporate office just outside Denver, wants to sell six mining operations, including the CC&V Gold Mine. A number of the other properties are located in Canada, Ghana, and Australia.

In some ways, company officials have indicated that the CC&V sales news is attributed to Newmont’s acquisition of Newcrest, a copper mining giant.

But don’t look for a new owner to take the reins of the local gold mine in the next few months.

In fact, Huyssteen explained to the council that the process is quite cumbersome, and made it clear the mine will only change hands to a responsible and well-funded operator that meets their values and standards and their strong commitment to the community. “It is not a sale at all costs,” said the CC&V Gold Mine general manager.

He cited a three-phase process that will take place.

The first stage will involve the inspection of their books, a process alone that could take at least eight weeks.  Then, a detailed examination of the property ensues by interested buyers, culminating with formal offers and final negotiations. Huyssteen, though, indicated that Newmont hopes to have the property under the reins of a new owner by the end of the year.

The price won’t be cheap, as Newmont purchased CC&V from AngloGold Ashanti LTD in 2015 for $820 million, plus a 2.5 percent net smelter return royalty on future gold production from underground ore.  The possibility of a new underground mining operation also previously generated much anticipation and excitement in the district but never quite materialized. That possibility is still, though, regarded as the big wild card in future CC&V operations.

Nothing new for District Leaders

The news of a pending sale is nothing new for the Cripple Creek and Victor community that has experienced a slew of mine company owners and top managers. It may take several chalk boards to list all the general managers at the CC&V mine site over the last three decades.

In fact, at the most recent briefing, CC&V officials confirmed that former general manager Lori Douglas, who held this post most recently, has been transferred to their office in  Denver.

Jeff Mosher, the special projects director for the city of Cripple Creek, stated that the pending sale of the mine should not emerge as an issue of economic concern for the community.

“This is something that seems to happen every five years up here,” said Mosher, in evaluating the sales situation at the CC&V Gold Mine.  He contends that CC&V is a profitable mining operation, but size-wise, it is not that big compared to other mining ventures across the country. As a result, he sees that as one possible reason CC&V find itself on the sales block so often.  Plus, he cited a strong memorandum of understanding pact with the county, local cities and community organizations that have withstood a variety of ownership changes.

The only downside he sees is that new relations will have to be established with a different ownership group.

Still, he doesn’t expect any changes from an operational and community standpoint, noting that most of the changes at CC&V have occurred at the management level. Mosher also was impressed with the three-phased approach, outlined by their new general manager for any forthcoming sales transaction. “We all felt better after hearing that presentation,” said the special projects director.

He doesn’t expect the city to get involved in any of the negotiations, but that it will take an active role on the infrastructure front in trying to facilitate more housing.

“We just want to make sure we have homes for the employees to live in,” said the special projects director.

Despite Sale News, A Bullish Time for CC&V Gold Mine

Even though the CC&V site is for sale, company officials, in their most recent report to the council, cited a bullish outlook.

“We expect to be around for some time… and contribute to the coffers of the local communities,” said Huyssteen.

As far as other CC&V pursuits, company official announced that their reclamation efforts are proceeding quite well with the completion of 70 acres since 2020.

CC&V is on schedule to mine 172, 000 ounces of gold this year, similar to 2023.  Officials also unveiled plans for their new Amendment 14, which includes an expansion of the Cresson pit and more development of the Gold Hill, East Cresson and Elkton sites.  However, CC&V spokesperson Katie Blake didn’t see any of these impacting the viewshed around Cripple Creek. Amendment 14 also encompasses other areas of expansion in the mill platform area. Plans have already been submitted to the state.

Eventually, this pursuit will be reviewed by Teller County planning officials and the county commissioners.

And CC&V is still a big player when it comes to community contributions and tax revenue.  Based on their recent report, CC&V contributed close to $70,000 in community contributions for their first quarter of 2024 and played a key role in paving the way for a new blood pressure monitor device at the Aspen Mine Center.

Besides queries about the sale, the only significant question raised by the council at their recent meeting dealt with the company’s reported COVID relief fund, which was slated at around $20 million for its host communities and countries.

Councilman Cody Schwab wanted to get more details pertaining to where this money went.