Equinox Gold has announced that the company's Board of Directors has approved the start of phase one construction at the Castle Mountain Gold Mine in California.
Castle Mountain is an opencast heap leach mine expected to produce on average 45 000 oz of gold annually for the first 3 years of operations while the company completes the studies and permit amendments required for the phase two expansion, which is expected to average 200 000 oz of gold annually for an additional 13 years for total life of mine production of 2.8 million oz of gold.
Early works construction has been underway at Castle Mountain since the third quarter of 2019. Activities to date have focused on detailed engineering, procurement, installation of piping and other infrastructure, and heap leach earthworks. The company expects to commence installation of leach pad liners in November, with first gold pour targeted for 3Q20.
Construction milestones achieved to date:
- Detailed engineering complete.
- Contractors mobilised to site.
- Plant area and heap leach topsoil removal complete.
- Site road upgrades complete. First deliveries of pipe and liner material to site.
Christian Milau, Equinox Gold's CEO, commented: "Castle Mountain will be Equinox Gold's third producing gold mine and our second mine in California. Construction of phase one of Castle Mountain is the first step in building a project that will ultimately be a long life 200 000 oz/yr gold mine, bringing significant benefits to Equinox Gold's shareholders, local communities and the State of California."
The company's Board of Directors has approved a phase one construction budget of US$58 million based on firm supplier quotes following detailed engineering, of which approximately US$3.5 million has been spent to date. The budget includes working capital and a 12% contingency. Castle Mountain phase one construction is fully funded from the company's existing treasury, cash flow based on current gold prices and available funding facilities.
A significant portion of phase one infrastructure and more than 50% of phase one capital expenditures are considered ‘early build’ for phase two. The phased ramp up approach allows the company to use existing permits to expedite production while completing the feasibility study and permit amendments for the phase two expansion.
Phase one will consist of a run-of-mine heap leach operation processing primarily 12 700 tpd of stockpiled ore from previous operations. Loaded carbon from Castle Mountain will be trucked to Equinox Gold's Mesquite Mine, 200 miles south, and processed in the Mesquite ADR (adsorption, desorption and refining) plant, resulting in increased operating efficiencies for both mines.
Phase two will increase production to 200 000 oz/yr and throughput to 41 000 tpd of ore, of which 2300 tpd of higher grade ore will be processed through a milling circuit. Although phase two will operate within the existing mine boundary, the increased mining and water extraction rates will require amendments to permits for the project.
The phase two feasibility study is underway with completion targeted for the second half of 2020, at which point the company will submit the application to amend its existing plan of operations and permits to support the phase 2 expansion.
Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/mining/01112019/equinox-gold-commences-first-phase-construction-of-the-castle-mountain-gold-mine/
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