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Company : Business Wire 
Monday, May 27, 2002 11:30AM IST (6:00AM GMT)
 
(BW)(PLACER-DOME)(PDG)(PDG.TO)(PDG.AX)
Placer Dome Updates Gold Resources and Progress At South Deep; Company Reaffirms Fiscal 2002 Guidance
Vancouver, Canada

Concurrent with its bid announced Sunday for all of the outstanding shares of AurionGold Limited, Placer Dome is pleased to report increased
resources at its global exploration properties and is reporting inferred resources at its operating mines.

These resource estimates stand in addition to the company's proven and probable reserves of 44.5 million ounces of gold, which are set out separately in Placer Dome's 2001 annual report.

The company has also concluded a new timetable for completion of the expansion project at its South Deep mine in South Africa. The new exploration estimates and updated South Deep expansion project timetable will not have any effect on the Company's guidance for the full year 2002, as announced on Thursday, February 14, 2002. Placer Dome continues to expect to produce more than 2.5 million ounces of gold and 420 million pounds of copper in 2002. At Placer Dome's exploration properties, mineral resources total 42.6 million ounces measured and indicated and 13.0 million ounces inferred. Inferred mineral resources at the company's operating mines amount to 7.6 million ounces. Measured and indicated mineral resources at operating mines, as reported in the company's 2001 annual report, total 40.6 million ounces. Detailed figures and other relevant information on a mine-by-mine basis are included as an attachment to this release.

Commenting on these figures, Placer Dome President and CEO Jay Taylor said they speak to the quality of the company's portfolio of projects for future development. "Many of our properties are becoming increasingly attractive in today's rising gold price environment, and with the resources we have identified at our exploration properties, will form the backbone of our company's future growth," he said. Placer Dome also today issued an update for completion of the South Deep expansion project. The company now expects gold production will gradually ramp up from 400,000 per year in 2002 to 700,000 ounces per year by 2007, averaging 600,000 ounces per year over this five-year period. Beyond 2007, production is expected to exceed 750,000 ounces per year, 50,000 ounces per year higher than past estimates. Cash and total costs will be unchanged in 2002 at approximately $170 and $208 per ounce respectively. Over the following five years the company expects cash and total costs will average $145 and $180 per ounce respectively. Longer term, after full production is achieved, cash and total costs are expected to average about $135 and $175 per ounce respectively - below previous guidance of $160 and $180 per ounce respectively.

The new mill is currently under commissioning and the first gold pour is expected in mid-June. The main shaft has now been completed. Commissioning is planned for late 2003, with full operation by 2004. The vent shaft is expected to be commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2003. "The mine sits on one of the world's most robust ore bodies," Mr. Taylor said, "and we expect South Deep will be a key contributor to our future growth. Given the size and complexity of the expansion, we felt it was necessary to revisit our initial estimates." The information in this release has been included in the Bidder's Statement for the proposed purchase of AurionGold. The Bidder's Statement will be lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and is intended to be dispatched to AurionGold's shareholders in approximately two weeks time.

Placer Dome will host two conference calls to discuss the proposed purchase of AurionGold as well as the contents of this release. The first call will be held from Sydney at 10:30 am on Monday, May 27 (AEST), which is Sunday, May 26 at 8:30pm (EDT) and 5:30pm (PDT). Interested participants within Australia can access the call by dialing 1-800-00-96-96. From North America, dial 1-800-4200-0000. From other countries or for operator assistance please dial +61-3-9221-9755.

Due to the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S., the second call will be held on Tuesday, May 28 at 9:30am (EDT), 11:30pm (AEST). This call can be accessed from North America by dialing 1-888-694-4768. From all other countries, please dial +973-321-1030. Both calls will be webcast live at www.placerdome.com, and archived thereafter for a period of 30 days.

For further information contact: Brenda Radies (416) 363-4884 On the Internet: www.placerdome.com

CAUTIONARY Note

Some of the statements contained in this news release are forward-looking statements, such as estimates and statements that describe Placer Dome's future plans, objectives or goals, including words to the effect that Placer Dome or management expects a stated condition or result to occur. Since forward-looking statements address future events and conditions, by their very nature they involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results relating to among other things, reserves, resources, results of exploration, capital costs and mine production costs could differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements by reason of factors such as the productivity of Placer Dome's mining properties, changes in general economic conditions and conditions in the financial markets, changes in demand and prices for the minerals Placer Dome produces, litigation, legislative, environmental and other judicial, regulatory, political and competitive developments in domestic and foreign areas in which Placer Dome operates, technological and operational difficulties encountered in connection with Placer Dome's mining
activities, and labour relations matters and costs. "Placer Dome" is used in this news release to collectively mean Placer Dome Inc., its subsidiary companies and its roportionate share of joint ventures. "Placer Dome Group" or "Group" means collectively Placer Dome Inc., its subsidiary companies, its proportionate share of joint ventures and also companies for which it equity accounts. "Placer Dome Group's share" or the "Group's share" is defined to exclude minority shareholders' interest. The "Corporation" refers to Placer Dome Inc.

Placer Dome Inc.
Mineral Resources(1)(2) - Properties in Production

The following table sets out Placer Dome's share as at 31 December 2001 of measured, indicated and inferred(2) mineral resources (in addition to mineral reserves).


MINE BY MEASURED MINERAL INDICATED MINERAL
METAL RESOURCES RESOURCES
------- ------------------ -------------------
Tonnes Grade Contained Tonnes Grade Contained
(000's) (g/t) oz. (000's) (g/t) oz.
(000's) (000's)
------ ----- ------- ------ ----- ---------
GOLD
Canada
------
Campbell 1,055 22.3 757 1,259 10.1 408
Dome(5) 4,635 6.1 915 18,325 2.1 1,210
Musselwhite 1,713 7.6 420 374 11.9 143

United States
-------------
Bald Mountain 41,576 1.6 2,093 - - -
Cortez (3)(4) 15,999 1.6 804 25,678 1.2 1,030
Golden Sunlight 23,892 1.7 1,336 4,912 1.5 243
Getchell (6) 5,966 17.9 3,426 6,236 17.2 3,456

Australia
---------
Granny Smith (3) - - - 16,216 2.5 1,278
Osborne 2,115 1.0 71 - - -

Papua New Guinea
----------------
Misima 2,992 0.7 63 - - -
Porgera (3) 21,079 2.5 1,725 14,344 2.0 909

South Africa
------------
South Deep (3) 2,517 9.0 729 66,819 9.0 19,279

Latin America
-------------
La Coipa 4,952 1.1 179 3,250 1.3 136
------ ------
12,518 28,092
====== ======
SILVER
La Coipa 4,952 45.4 7,227 3,250 28.6 2,988
Misima 2,992 7.0 673 - - -
----- -----
7,900 2,988
===== =====

Tonnes Grade Contained Tonnes Grade Contained
COPPER (000's) (%) lbs (000's) (%) lbs
(millions) (millions)
------ ----- ------ ------ ----- --------
Zaldivar (3) 45,394 0.342 342 259,969 0.340 1,949
Osborne 2,115 3.597 168 - - -
----- -----
510 1,949
===== =====


MINE BY TOTAL MEASURED INFERRED MINERAL
METAL AND INDICATED RESOURCES
-------- ---------------- ------------------
Tonnes Grade Contained Tonnes Grade Contained
(000's) (g/t) oz. (000's) (g/t) oz.
(000's) (000's)
------- ----- --------- ------ ----- ---------
GOLD
Canada
------
Campbell 2,314 15.7 1,165 5,239 9.80 1,651
Dome (5) 22,960 2.9 2,125 5,650 2.30 418
Musselwhite 2,087 8.4 563 984 5.20 164

United States
-------------
Bald Mountain 41,576 1.6 2,093 - - -
Cortez (3)(4) 41,677 1.4 1,834 6,691 1.00 212
Golden Sunlight 28,804 1.7 1,579 6,226 1.10 220
Getchell (6) 12,202 17.5 6,882 5,331 15.80 2,708

Australia
---------
Granny Smith (3) 16,216 2.5 1,278 16,891 3.60 1,955
Osborne 2,115 1.0 71 1,553 0.40 20

Papua New Guinea
----------------
Misima 2,992 0.7 63 - - -
Porgera (3) 35,423 2.3 2,634 3,426 2.00 220

South Africa
------------
South Deep (3) 69,336 9.0 20,008 - - -

Latin America
-------------
La Coipa 8,202 1.2 315 613 1.30 26
------ -----
40,610 7,594
====== =====
SILVER
La Coipa 8,202 38.7 10,215 613 29.6 583
Misima 2,992 7.0 673 - - -
------ ----
10,888 583
====== ====

COPPER Tonnes Grade Contained Tonnes Grade Contained
(000's) (%) lbs (000's) (%) lbs
(millions) (millions)

Zaldivar (3) 305,363 0.340 2,291 66,461 0.39 571
Osborne 2,115 3.597 168 1,553 3.38 116
----- ----
2,459 687
===== ====

Rounding differences may occur.Mineral Resources (1)(2) - Other Properties

The following table sets out Placer Dome's share as at 31 December 2001 of measured, indicated and inferred(2) mineral resources.


OTHER MEASURED MINERAL INDICATED MINERAL
PROPERTY BY RESOURCES RESOURCES
METAL
Tonnes Grade Contained Tonnes Grade Contained
(000's) (g/t) oz. (000's) (g/t) Oz.
(000's) (000's)
-------------- ------- ----- ------- ------- ----- --------
GOLD
Aldebaran(7) 103,400 0.75 2,493 464,500 0.7 10,454
Donlin Creek(8) 21,300 3.13 2,143 48,900 3.03 4,764
Mt. Milligan(9) 171,000 0.48 2,639 236,000 0.42 3,187
Pueblo Viejo(10) - - - 159,500 3.28 16,820
------ ------
7,275 35,225
====== ======
SILVER
Pueblo Viejo(10) - - - 159,500 20.2 103,584
------ -------
- 103,584
====== =======

Tonnes Grade Contained Tonnes Grade Contained
COPPER (000's) (%) lbs (000's) (%) Lbs
(millions) (millions)
-------------- ------- ----- ------- ------- ----- --------
Aldebaran(7) 103,400 0.25 570 464,500 0.26 2,663
Mt. Milligan(9) 171,000 0.19 716 236,000 0.17 885
----- -----
1,286 3,548
===== =====


OTHER TOTAL MEASURED INFERRED MINERAL
PROPERTY BY AND INDICATED RESOURCES
METAL
Tonnes Grade Contained Tonnes Grade Contained
(000's) (g/t) oz. (000's) (g/t) oz.
(000's) (000's)
-------------- ------- ------ ------- ------ ----- -------
GOLD
Aldebaran(7) 567,900 0.71 12,963 87,300 0.63 1,768
Donlin Creek(8) 70,100 3.06 6,896 66,200 2.83 6,023
Mt. Milligan(9) 407,000 0.45 5,888 35,000 0.38 428
Pueblo Viejo(10) 159,500 3.28 16,820 51,800 2.86 4,763
------ ------
42,567 12,982
====== ======
SILVER
Pueblo Viejo(10) 159,500 20.2 103,584 51,800 9.9 16,487
------- ------
103,584 16,487
======= ======

Tonnes Grade Contained Tonnes Grade Contained
COPPER (000's) (%) lbs (000's) (%) lbs
(millions) (millions)

-------------- -------- ------- --------- ------- ------ --------
Aldebaran(7) 567,900 0.26 3,233 87,300 0.33 635
Mt. Milligan(9) 407,000 0.18 1,601 35,000 0.16 123
----- ----
4,834 758
===== ====

Rounding differences may occur.Notes to Mineral Resources Tables:

(1) Mineral resources are in addition to gold, silver and copper mineral reserves. The qualified persons responsible for mineral resource estimates are shown under note 11. Consistent with Placer Dome's normal mineral resource estimation practices, independent data verification has not been performed except in the case of certain exploration properties.

(2) A "mineral resource" is a concentration or occurrence of natural, solid, inorganic or fossilized organic material in or on the earth's crust in such form and quantity and of such a grade or quality that it has reasonable prospects for economic extraction. The location, quantity, grade, geological characteristics and continuity of a mineral resource are known, estimated or interpreted from specific geological evidence and knowledge. A "measured mineral resource" is that part of a mineral resource for which quantity, grade or quality, densities, shape, physical characteristics are so well established that they can be estimated with confidence sufficient to allow the appropriate application of technical and economic parameters, to support production planning and evaluation of the economic viability of the deposit. The estimate is based on detailed and reliable exploration, sampling and testing information gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes that are spaced closely enough to confirm both geological and grade continuity. An "indicated mineral resource" is that part of a mineral resource for which quantity, grade or quality, densities, shape and physical characteristics, can be estimated with a level of confidence sufficient to allow the appropriate application of technical and economic parameters, to support mine planning and evaluation of the economic viability of the deposit. The estimate is based on detailed and reliable exploration and testing information gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes that are spaced closely enough for geological and grade continuity to be reasonably assumed. An "inferred mineral resource" is that part of a mineral resource for which quantity and grade or quality can be estimated on the basis of geological evidence and limited sampling and reasonably assumed, but not verified, geological and grade continuity. The estimate is based on limited information and samplings gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes. The above definitions of "mineral resource", "measured mineral resource", "indicated mineral resource" and "inferred mineral resource" conform to Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) definitions of those terms as at the effective date of estimation, as required by National Instrument 43-101 of the Canadian Securities Administrators. Mineral resources which are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.

(3) Economic assumptions for material properties: The cut-off grades for a particular property can vary depending on the various rock types, metallurgical processes and mining methods. Cut-off grades are therefore quoted below as a range for each material property to reflect the variability of these parameters.

MINERAL
RESOURCES
----------------------
Cut-off grade
(g/t gold, % copper)
----------------------
Cortez 0.27 - 2.88 g/t
Granny Smith 0.60 -1.04 g/t
Porgera 1.0 g/t
South Deep 5.0 g/t
Zaldivar 0.2%
----------------------
(4) There is currently a Notice of Appeal pending with the Interior Board of Appeals regarding the South Pipeline permit. The South Pipeline deposit accounts for 5% of the reported mineral resources of the Cortez Mine.

(5) Does not take into account changes to mineral resource estimates that may result from the proposed Placer Dome/Kinross Gold Corporation joint venture. On 11 April 2002 Placer Dome announced the signing of a letter of understanding with Kinross Gold to form a joint venture that will combine the two companies' respective mining operations in the Porcupine camp in Ontario.

(6) Production has been suspended since July 1999 and property is under care and maintenance. Surface stockpiled ore is being sent for processing at Newmont Mining Corporation's nearby Twin Creeks Mine.

(7) As estimated by Placer Dome as at 31 December 2000 assuming 51% indirect ownership by Placer Dome, which ownership interest is subject to certain obligations of Placer Dome under the terms of a shareholders agreement. The other indirect owners of the Aldebaran property are Bema Gold (24%) and Arizona Star (25%). In the opinion of the qualified person who prepared or supervised the preparation of the mineral resource estimate (see note 11), the estimate is relevant and reliable as at 31 December 2001 and was calculated using mineral resource categories that are substantially similar to the CIM definitions set out in note 2 above.

(8) As estimated by Placer Dome as at 31 December 2001 assuming 100% ownership by Placer Dome. In April 2001 Placer Dome granted NovaGold Resources Inc. an option to acquire a 70% interest in the
Donlin Creek property. Placer Dome retains a back-in right to regain a 70% interest following earn-in by NovaGold.

(9) As estimated by Placer Dome as at 31 December 1998. In the opinion of the qualified person who prepared or supervised the preparation of the mineral resource estimate (see note 11), the
estimate is relevant and reliable as at 31 December 2001 and was calculated using mineral resource categories that are substantially similar to the CIM definitions set out in note 2 above.

(10) As estimated by Placer Dome as at 31 December 2001. Placer Dome has since been awarded the exclusive rights to this project and is awaiting final approval from the Dominican Republic government to proceed.

(11) Each of the mineral resource estimates shown above were prepared by or under the supervision of a "qualified person", as that term is defined in National Instrument 43-101 of the Canadian
Securities Administrators, and those persons are listed below. All named persons are employees of Placer Dome unless otherwise indicated. In estimating the applicable mineral resources, such persons made assumptions, and used parameters and methods, appropriate for each particular property, and verified the data disclosed, including sampling, analytical and test data underlying such estimates.
   MINERAL RESOURCES
-----------------
BY PROPERTY Name Title
------------ ---------- ---------
Campbell Dan Gagnon Chief Geologist

Dome Mort Shannon Chief Geologist

Musselwhite Andrew Cheatle Chief Geologist

Bald Mountain Elias Dib Mine Engineer

Cortez Britt Buhl Chief Mine Engineer

Golden Sunlight Paul Buckley Chief Mine Engineer

Getchell John Porterfield Chief Geologist

Granny Smith Malcolm Titley Senior Mine Geologist

Osborne Philip Agnew Senior Geologist

Misima Trevor Jones Independent Consultant

Porgera Anthony Burgess Senior Resource Geologist

South Deep Deon Van Der Heever Independent Consultant

La Coipa Mauricio Rubio Geologist

Zaldivar Jorge Aceituno Chief Geologist

Aldebaran Marc Jutras Senior Mining Engineer/
Geostatistician

Donlin Creek Marc Jutras Senior Mining Engineer/
Geostatistician

Mt. Milligan Robert Pease General Manager,
Exploration Projects

Pueblo Viejo Chris Keech Senior Geologist/
Geostatistician


 
 
 
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