Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. has provided an update on the resumption of its construction activities at the Lindero gold Project, located in the Province of Salta, Argentina.
On 19 March 2020, the government of Argentina declared a period of mandatory national ‘social isolation’ in relation to COVID-19, effective until 31 March 2020. This period of isolation was subsequently extended until 10 May 2020. Construction was temporarily halted at Lindero and a reduced task force remains on site to maintain critical activities including security and environmental monitoring over the extended isolation period.
On 3 April 2020, the government of Argentina included mining and related activities within the list of essential industries and services permitted to operate during the mandatory social isolation period. To resume operations, companies are required to submit to the provincial authorities a Minimum Emergency Operations Program (MEOP).
On 28 April 2020, the company submitted and received approval to resume operations under its MEOP. The construction plan has been revised to implement sanitary protocols for the prevention and handling of COVID-19 cases, which include a reduced on-site workforce in support of social distancing measures. Mobilisation to the project site is planned to take place during the second half of May 2020 in order to resume construction activities. The company has modified its construction and commissioning plans to mitigate risks to the timeline and budget associated with a reduced workforce, limited foreign vendor support, and limitations on local travel.
As of 19 March 2020, the date of the Lindero demobilisation, the project was 94% complete.
The new construction and commissioning plans prioritise the completion of solution handling, ADR and SART plants with the objective of producing first doré in the 3Q20. With the advanced stage of commissioning of the primary and secondary crushing circuits, crushed coarse ore is scheduled to be placed on the leach pad for cyanide irrigation starting in July. This plan contemplates by-passing the tertiary HPGR crushing and agglomeration circuits temporarily, for a period of four months, until the 4Q20.
Although HPGR pre-commissioning has been successfully completed, commissioning will take longer because we will be utilising remote assistance from the foreign vendor.
The crushed coarse ore from the primary and secondary crushers to be placed on the leach pad during the ramp-up phase represents only approximately 12% of the projected ore scheduled to be placed on the leach pad in a standard year of full production. Preliminary metallurgical column test results for coarse ore indicates gold recoveries of 45 to 50% compared to its feasibility study projections of 78% recovery for tertiary crushed ore over a 90-day period.
Opencast mining is planned to gradually resume in July 2020. During the period from July to December 2020, an estimated 1.7 million to 1.9 million t of ore are scheduled to be placed on the leach pad with an average gold grade of 1.00 g/t to 1.10 g/t. The estimated stripping ratio during this period is 0.68 to 0.75.
Between 25 000 and 28 000 oz of gold doré are scheduled to be produced for the period of September to 31 December 2020. Commercial production is expected to start in 1Q21, achieving an AISC of US$520/oz to $620/oz gold.
The company reiterates a capex forecast of between US$314 to $320 million for the Lindero Project construction. This represents an increase of 28% from the September 2017 feasibility estimate. The company estimates that as of 31 March 2020, the remaining funds required to complete the project, inclusive of pre-production expenditures, working capital and VAT, to be in the range of US$75 to $80 million up to the commencement of commercial production in 1Q21. As at 31 March 2020, the company had US$88.5 million of available liquidity.
Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/mining/11052020/fortuna-provides-update-on-lindero-gold-project/