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Lundin Gold’s Fruta del Norte mine development reaches orebody

Published by , Assistant Editor
Global Mining Review,

Lundin Gold Inc. (Lundin Gold) has announced that the underground mine declines have reached the orebody, and level development has begun at its Fruta del Norte gold project (Fruta del Norte) in Ecuador.

"Our team has reached, and in some cases exceeded the project's targets, all while maintaining excellent safety standards," said Ron Hochstein, Lundin Gold's President and CEO.

"With 70% of our capital expenditure committed and detailed engineering nearly done, Fruta del Norte is on schedule to meet its target of producing first gold in the fourth quarter of this year."

Mine development

As at 31 December 2018, a total of 4.5 km of underground mine development had been achieved.

The K'isa decline was completed on 9 December 2018, after 2.1 km of total development and transitioned to production level 1170.  Production level 1195 began on 7 December 2018 and a total of 330 m of level development on two levels has been completed.  December average advance rates in K'isa were 9.0 m per day versus a target of 7.1 m per day.

The Kuri decline is at 2070 m of total development and is progressing towards lower production levels in the mine. This decline was completed this month. December average advance rates in Kuri were 5.0 m per day versus a target of 4.2 m per day.   

Overall, advance rates in both declines exceeded the plan by 11% due to better than expected ground conditions and lower than anticipated water inflows.

Lundin Gold is preparing the first stages of transition to owner operations and its mining fleet has started to arrive at Fruta del Norte.  The first group of mining operator trainees began the final part of their training programme, which takes place on site.

Process plant

Process plant concrete foundations are 62% complete and structural steel erection is progressing as planned. The remaining mechanical equipment is expected to be on site in the first quarter and installation of the carbon-in-leach circuit and grinding mills has started. Commissioning of the process plant is still on track to begin in 3Q19.

With process plant engineering substantially complete, engineering efforts are now focussed on the paste plant and water treatment plant facilities.

Mountain Pass Quarry and tailings storage facility

The company successfully negotiatied the Mountain Pass Quarry (the Quarry) Exploitation agreement with the local government in 4Q18, and extraction of aggregate materials began shortly after. Material from the Quarry was necessary to move forward with the construction of the tailings storage facility.

Tailings storage facility access roads and the polishing pond were completed in the fourth quarter, while construction advanced on the surface water perimeter diversion ditches around the tailings storage facility.


Construction continues on three fronts with 28 out of 107 towers, or 22% of powerline infrastructure, being complete.

Paste plant

Paste plant mass earthworks were complete in 4Q18 and concrete works have begun.

Other infrastructure

The company continues to make significant progress on other key facilities and infrastructure including:

  • Permanent mine maintenance shop is in operation.
  • Mine dry/administration building is well advanced and the mine emergency power substation is scheduled to be completed in 1Q19.
  • The main Fruta del Norte power substation concrete is complete and the two main transformers have arrived at site and are positioned on the foundations.

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