Canada-based Lundin Gold has published its three-year production guidance, with its outlook for the Fruta del Norte mine, in Ecuador, well above 400 000 oz/y until between 2023 and 2025.
“Now that the South Ventilation Raise has been completed, the additional ventilation will allow us to increase the rate of mining to 4 400 t/d to match the expected throughput of the mill,” president and CEO Ron Hochstein said.
Gold production at Fruta del Norte for 2023 is estimated to be between 425 000 oz and 475 000 oz, based on the average throughput rate of 4 400 t/d.
Gold production in 2024 will increase to between 450 000 oz and 500 000 oz and in 2025 it will be between 465 000 oz and 525 000 oz.
The all-in sustaining cost (AISC) for 2023 is expected to range between $870/oz and $940/oz.
These reflect "steady-state" operations with higher unit costs compared with 2022 owing to mining and milling ore with lower grade, inflationary pressures resulting in increased costs of consumables and transportation, and higher maintenance requirements as equipment ages.
Total sustaining capital in 2023 is estimated at $45-million to $55-million and will include the fourth tailings dam raise, a few items that were not completed in 2022 such as a new warehouse, as well as new projects such as a new sewage water treatment plant and several efficiency improvements projects in the mine and plant.
Meanwhile, Lundin stated that it planned a 28 000 m drilling programme for 2023, compared with 22 500 m in 2022.
The near-mine programme will focus on underground and surface drilling at or near Fruta del Norte. Indications from drilling in 2022 suggest significant potential for the extension of the Fruta del Norte resources at depth as well as to east, west and south of the current resource envelope.
The 2023 near mine programme is estimated to cost $9.4-million and intends to drill 15 500 m. Drilling is aimed at confirming indications of both a potentially larger Fruta del Norte mineralized envelope and the existence of satellite deposits.
The regional programme will focus on several exploration targets located in the 16-km-long Suarez basin, with the objective of identifying another Fruta del Norte.
The 2023 regional programme is estimated to cost $11.7-million and will drill 12 500 m.