Bullion miner Equinox Gold has completed a prefeasibility study (PFS) to expand its Aurizona mine, in Brazil. Incorporating the underground and satellite deposits into the mine plan will nearly double the mine life, increase production and generate about $1-billion in net cash flow at current gold prices.
Announcing the outcomes of the PFS, Equinox stated that the expanded mine would produce an average of 137 000 oz/y over an 11 year mine life. Peak production between 2026 and 2029 would yield more than 160 000 oz/y.
The PFS delivered a net present value, at a 5% discount, of $134-million at $1 500/oz and $600-million at $1 800/oz.
The PFS contemplates a three-year capital development and construction timeline for the underground mine. Total initial capital costs during this period are estimated at $154-million. Underground capital costs assume the mining fleet is purchased. Leasing the mining fleet would reduce capital costs by $25-million.
“I am incredibly proud of what our team has accomplished at Aurizona. The expansion will create additional economic and social opportunities for our community partners and substantial value for our shareholders, with significant potential for further growth as we continue to explore what could eventually be a multi-decade mine,” said CEO Christian Milau.
The updated mineral reserve and resource estimates for Aurizona, incorporating the new underground and openpit deposits and offsetting 18 months of mining depletion, show a 73% increase over the December 2019 estimate, with 1.7-million ounces of proven and probable miner reserves, grading 1.6 g/t gold, plus 868 000 oz of measured and indicated mineral resources grading 1.49 g/t.