It’s been a popular topic in recent years. Now, we’re starting to learn even more. Edward Snowden blew the lid off of the NSA and their secret spy programs when he leaked their documents to the public. The federal government has been reeling ever since, looking for new ways to re-assert their grip on communications. Since Snowden leaked those documents, he’s been forced to seek political asylum in Russia, with threats of jail or imprisonment back here in the States.
But three years later, after much of the story has already faded from most people’s recent memory, his actions are still impacting the NSA. In fact, we’re just now discovering new information from documents Snowden leaked. A new report by The Intercept, exposes a massive program called Operation Aurora-Gold. In the once-classified NSA documents, we learn the US government tried to hack into email accounts, cell phone networks and computers from providers all over the world. In fact, the special operation even built carefully-crafted Trojan Horse type software programs, and built back door entries into these systems.
We’ve known about many of these controversial tactics for years now. But Operation Aurora-Gold gives us a clearer idea of the big picture. The NSA’s grand scheme. Apparently, they were planning on building a master key that would give them access to every single cell phone network in the entire world.
Even if you trust the NSA with your private information, this tactic raises extra concerns because it would open the door to attacks from other outside hackers. They could find a way to hack through the same Trojan Door loophole the NSA put there. The NSA has not publicly acknowledge the existence of the Aurora-Gold operation.
Aurora Gold Project, Guyana, South America, Guyana
The Aurora gold project being developed by Guyana Goldfields (GGL) is located in Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Guyana, South America. It is an open pit and underground mining operation spread across an area of 12km². The open pit operations are initially targeted at extracting the near-surface saprolite and hard rock ore.
GGL was awarded the mining lease from the Government of Guyana in November 2011. The feasibility study for the project was completed in January 2013 and commissioning is due to commence mid 2015.
Aurora’s total gold production is estimated to be 3.29 million ounces over its 17-years mine life. Production is anticipated to be 231,000oz in the first ten years, with a peak production rate of 349,000oz in 2020.
Financing for the Aurora Gold project
The project is estimated to cost $205m. International Finance Corporate (IFC), a member of World Bank Group, Export Development Canada, ING Capital, Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation, and The Bank of Nova Scotia will provide a $185m debt facility for the project. The transaction was completed in September 2014.
The debt will be provided in two tranches of $160m and $25m respectively to be repaid over eight years. Endeavour Financial (Cayman) was the financial advisor for the transaction for Guyana Goldfields.
Aurora gold mine geology and mineralisation
The Aurora gold deposit is situated on the eastern side of the Aurora zoned intrusion in the Cuyuni greenstone belt of the Guiana Shield in the Amazon Craton. The Cuyuni belt consists of basalts, rhyolites, shales and graywackes.
The deposit is classified in to four gold mineralisation zones, namely Rory’s Knoll, Aleck Hill, Walcott Hill and Mad Kiss. High-grade mineralisation is found in mesothermal quartz veins, while the majority of mineralisation is found in quartz-ankerite veins that consist of minor pyrite and associated hydrothermal alteration. Quartz-carbonate veins ranging from weak to moderate stockwork and distinct tabular zones were also identified.
Gold in the central Aurora area mostly occurs in surface trenches, adits, crosscuts and diamond drill holes. A large volume of lower-grade material is found within Tonalite rocks in Rory’s Knoll area.
Guyana Goldfields drilled 1,100 holes to a total depth of 366,851m by April 2012.
Aurora proven gold reserves
Aurora gold mine is estimated to contain proven reserves of 2.38 million tonnes graded at 3.04g per tonne of gold, and probable reserves of 37.22 million tonnes graded at 2.72g per tonne of gold. The contained gold reserve at the mine was estimated to be 3.47 million ounces, as at January 2013.
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