Kinross Gold Corp. said it will not expand its troubled Tasiast gold mine in the Mauritanian desert because of weak bullion prices.
The decision comes as gold flounders around $1,200 (U.S.) an ounce, forcing the industry to put projects on hold and sell mines to preserve cash.
The $1.6-billion expansion would have increased Tasiast's mill so that it could more than quadruple the amount of ore it processes, cutting overall production costs.
But Kinross's chief executive J. Paul Rollinson said, "preserving balance sheet strength remains our priority, particularly given the current gold price environment."
The mine has been a headache since the Toronto-based company acquired it through its $7.1-billion purchase of Red Back Mining in 2010.
It was supposed to become one of the company's cornerstone mines, but instead has been mostly written down and the source of investor frustration.