TSX-listed Equinox Gold on Monday announced the suspension of operations at the RDM mine, in Brazil, pending regulatory approvals for the scheduled tailings storage facility (TSF) raise.
The company said it applied for the permits for the TSF raise in 2021, but that it had not yet been granted.
“Discussions with regulatory authorities are ongoing and the TSF raise contractor is ready to mobilise and commence work,” Equinox said, adding that it expected to restart full operations as soon as two months from the receipt of regulatory approval.
The miner explained that the RDM TSF was raised on an intermittent basis throughout the mine life to store tailings produced from ongoing operations.
A design alteration was filed with Supram, the State Environmental Agency - Minas Gerais, in 2017 to change from a centreline to a downstream design, which is considered the safest construction method, and since 2018 each raise has been completed using a downstream design.
Permits to raise the TSF using a downstream design were granted in 2019 and 2020.
In 2020, the company requested a raise method formalisation as an addendum to the licence to operate, confirming the change to a downstream design, and in early 2021 Supram granted the permit to raise the TSF to its current level.
Equinox has withdrawn its 2022 production guidance for the RDM mine, forecast at 70 000 oz to 80 000 oz of gold, or about 11% of the consolidated production using the mid-point of the group’s 2022 guidance of 625 000 oz to 710 000 oz of gold.