Hycroft completed its fourth full year of operations in 2012. The additions to mining equipment this year, including a third hydraulic shovel, 15 Komatsu 320-ton trucks and two Caterpillar 795 trucks, as well as production drills and support equipment, led to a total of 60.7 million tons being mined in 2012, almost double that mined in 2011. The average grade of ore placed on the leach pads in 2012 of 0.012 opt for gold and 0.21 opt for silver was commensurate with our forecasts but lower than 2011. Tons placed on the pad in 2012 increased 82%, and ounces placed totaled 371,000 ounces of gold and 6.5 million ounces of silver. Leach pad capacity was increased by approximately 3.0 million square feet with the completion of the Lewis leach pad, bringing total capacity to approximately 12.0 million square feet. Management continues to expect the gyratory crusher, north leach pad and Merrill-Crowe processing facility to be completed and operational in the third quarter of 2013. The new Merrill-Crowe plant will add 21,500 gallons per minute of processing capacity, which, along with current capacity, will be sufficient for the heap leach and milling operations.
The amount of cash used in investing activities significantly increased in 2012 to $275.2 million due to the ongoing expansion projects at Hycroft. During 2012, cash additions to plant, equipment, and mine development included $103.7 million for the mill project, $59.4 million for the crusher project, $35.3 million for mine development, $30.1 million for leach pad expansions, $9.4 million for an employee housing project, $8.7 million for mine equipment, and $15.6 million for other additions. Significant additions for the mill project included the purchase of SAG mills, ball mills, a regrind mill, and engineering costs. Significant additions for the crusher project included the purchase of a gyratory crusher, secondary and tertiary crushers, and excavation costs. The mill excavation began in the third quarter of 2012 and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2013.
Operating cash flows before operating assets and liability changes totaled $85.6 million. Operating assets and liabilities increased approximately $106.7 million during 2012, and included a receivable from the sale of unprocessed carbon and precipitate totaling $60.5 million as well as increases in inventory resulting from the expansion of our heap leach operations. Stockpiling of sulfide ore containing 32,074 ounces of recoverable gold, for the mill also contributed to the increase. Net cash used in operations totaled $21.1 million. The receivable for the sale of unprocessed carbon and precipitate is expected to be a one-time event due to our installation of an on-site carbon processing facility and is expected to be collected in 2013.
Hycroft Expansion Projects
The capital cost estimate for the expansion project remains $1.24 billion. To date, we have purchased or have fixed contracts in place for approximately $634.7 million, or 51% of the total capital budget and these purchases have come in approximately 5% below original estimate. As a result, the difference has been allocated to contingency which has increased to $97 million, from $65 million, representing 16% of the remaining capital to be committed of $608.3 million. Management believes that the expansion can be funded with the $347 million of cash on hand at December 31, 2012, an undrawn revolving line of credit for $120 million, capital lease financing, and operating cash flow.
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