According to the company, early works construction at the project has been taking place since Q3 of last year, and first gold is on track to be poured by late 2018.
“With expansion permits, full construction funding and the new Equinox Gold Board of Directors in place, we have received approval for full-scale construction at the Aurizona Gold Mine in Brazil,” said Christian Milau, CEO of Equinox, in a press release.
He added, “[t]his will be a milestone year for Equinox Gold as we advance Aurizona and transition the company from a developer to a meaningful producer, with more than 135,000 ounces of annual gold production expected from Aurizona.”
Equinox was formed at the end of last year after NewCastle Gold, Anfield Gold and Trek Mining combined their businesses. The companies first announced the deal in October, and said at the time that their goal was to create a “well-financed gold mining company with a near-term strategy to become a profitable, multi-asset, low-cost gold producer.”
To date, early works construction activities at Aurizona have focused on detailed engineering work, raising the existing tailings facility and refurbishment of existing plant infrastructure, among other things. The total budget for full-scale project construction is set at $146 million, which includes all working capital and a 12-percent contingency; about $25 million has been spent so far, and Equinox says it is on budget.
Aside from Aurizona, Equinox’s other properties include the Castle Mountain project, another past-producing asset. A prefeasibility study is currently underway there, and it will examine the viability of a two-phase approach to resuming production before the end of 2020.
Well-known mining financier Ross Beaty is chairman of Equinox, as well as a shareholder. Last week, Equinox announced that he had acquired 22.5 million common shares of the company, bringing his total holdings to 41.4 million common shares. In total, Beatty owns about 9.8 percent of Equinox on a basic basis, and is its largest shareholder.
As of 4:27 p.m. EST on Monday, Equinox’s share price was sitting at $1.20, up 3.45 percent.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.