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Equinox Gold Reports Record Production with 136,400 Ounces of Gold Produced in Fourth Quarter

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Equinox Gold Corp. (TSX: EQX) (NYSE American: EQX) is pleased to announce that it exceeded 2020 revised guidance, producing 477,200 ounces of gold for the year. Production for Q4 2020 totalled 136,400 oz of gold, including gold poured during commissioning and ramp-up at Castle Mountain. Full financial and operating results will be reported in early March.

 

“Equinox Gold had another year of tremendous growth in 2020. We started the year with two producing gold mines and ended the year with seven producing mines, construction underway at an eighth site, and the announcement of our acquisition of Premier Gold Mines. This transaction brings additional diversification and scale with a world-class construction-ready project in Canada and a producing mine in Mexico, and provides additional value from our investment in a new Nevada-focused gold company,” said Christian Milau, CEO of Equinox Gold. “We also achieved growth through exploration, extending the mine life at both Mesquite and Aurizona and demonstrating the potential to develop an underground mine at Aurizona. The team achieved these milestones despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, implementing proactive testing and other protocols so that we can effectively operate our mines while protecting the safety of our workforce and local communities.

 

“We will continue to deliver on our ambitious growth strategy through 2021 as we advance construction at Santa Luz in Brazil and prepare for expansion at Los Filos in Mexico and construction at Hardrock in Canada. We also have aggressive exploration programs planned at our projects to both expand existing deposits and test new targets. With strong cash flow from our operating mines, $345 million in cash on hand, $200 million available to draw on the revolving credit facility and the planned C$75 million acquisition-related equity financing, Equinox Gold is fully funded to execute on our growth plans to produce more than one million ounces of gold annually.”

 

2020 Highlights

 

  • Exceeded revised guidance1 of 425,000 to 465,000 oz with total production of 477,200 oz of gold, with all-in-sustaining costs expected to be within guidance of $975 to $1,025 per oz of gold sold2
  • Created the premier Americas gold producer with completion of the Leagold merger, increasing diversification and scale with four new mines and a development-stage project in Mexico and Brazil
  • Strong safety and environmental performance with proactive implementation of COVID-19 “test, trace, isolate” policies, no lost-time incidents at Castle Mountain during construction, improved total recordable injury frequency and reportable environmental incident rates, and commencement of online ESG reporting
  • Refinanced Equinox Gold debt with a low-cost $500 million corporate credit facility
  • Increased average daily trading liquidity from C$3 million in 2019 to over C$40 million in 2020
  • Achieved inclusion in global indices including the GDX, GDXJ, FTSE and S&P/TSX Composites
  • Increased Mesquite Reserves by 28% and Measured & Indicated Resources by 94%, and identified new exploration targets
  • Extended Aurizona mine life with exploration success and completed maiden Indicated Resource for the Tatajuba deposit
  • Completed positive PEA for potential Aurizona underground development showing 740,500 oz of gold production over a 10-year mine life with an after-tax $288 million NPV5% and 38% IRR at $1,620/oz gold3
  • Completed Santa Luz feasibility study showing 903,000 oz of gold production over an initial 9.5-year mine life with an after-tax $362 million NPV5% and 67% IRR at $1,600/oz gold
  • Commenced Santa Luz construction with first gold pour targeted for Q1 2022
  • Achieved Castle Mountain commercial production
  • Announced acquisition of Premier Gold Mines (TSX: PG)
  • Invested C$6 million in May and C$10.4 million in December in Solaris Resources to maintain an approximate 30% interest on a fully diluted basis; current market value of Equinox Gold’s basic interest is approximately C$190 million
  • Cash balance (unrestricted) at December 31, 2020 of approximately $345 million (unaudited) with an additional $200 million available to draw under the revolving credit facility plus the planned C$75 million acquisition related equity financing4 expected to close upon completion of the Premier acquisition

 

1 Guidance was updated on August 10th primarily to reflect the effect of government-mandated temporary suspensions related to COVID-19, and revised on November 9th to reflect the effect of the blockade at Los Filos, which was removed in December.
2 AISC per oz sold is a non-IFRS measure. See Non-IFRS Measures and AISC per Ounce Sold in Cautionary Notes.
3 The Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) is preliminary in nature and includes Inferred Mineral Resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves. There is no certainty that the results contemplated in the PEA will be realized.
4 Subject to completion of definitive documentation, customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, including TSX approval for the pricing and other terms of the financing.

 

Total 2020 gold production of 477,200 oz exceeded the Company’s revised guidance of 425,000 to 465,000 oz. The Company’s RDM mine significantly outperformed expectations, with the Mesquite, Aurizona and Pilar mines exceeding the top end of their guidance range. While the Los Filos full-year guidance was withdrawn on November 9, 2020 due to the temporary suspension of operations as the result of a community blockade, the mine had already produced 44,837 oz (post March 10th, the closing date of the Leagold merger) and was able to initiate a staged restart in late December, subsequently pouring an additional 13,700 oz of gold in the month. All-in-sustaining costs for the full year are expected to be within guidance of $975 to $1,025 per oz of gold sold. Gold production for the fourth quarter of 2020 totaled 136,400 oz, including gold poured during commissioning and ramp-up at Castle Mountain.

 

 

2020 Production (oz of gold)
Actuals Guidance
Los Filos1,2 58,500 44,837
Mesquite 141,300 130,000 – 140,000
Aurizona 130,300 120,000 – 130,000
Fazenda1 51,600 50,000 – 55,000
RDM1 59,300 50,000 – 55,000
Pilar1 30,900 25,000 – 30,000
Castle Mountain 5,300   5,000 – 10,000
Total – Mines 477,200 425,000 – 465,000

 

1 Production attributable to Equinox Gold post completion of the Leagold merger on March 10, 2020.
Los Filos full-year guidance was withdrawn on November 9, 2020 due to the temporary suspension of operations as the result of a community blockade, which was removed in December 2020. Guidance above for Los Filos is actual production to the end of Q3.

 

The 2020 production, cash balance and cost figures are preliminary and subject to change when the Company releases its Q4 2020 and audited full-year 2020 financial and operating results in March.

 

Equinox Gold expects to provide production and cost guidance for 2021 in February. Guidance will be updated following completion of the proposed acquisition of Premier Gold Mines, which is expected to close in March subject to all necessary securityholder and regulatory approvals.

 

About Equinox Gold

 

Equinox Gold is a Canadian mining company with seven operating gold mines and construction underway at an eighth site, a multi-million-ounce gold reserve base and a clear path to achieve one million ounces of annual gold production from a pipeline of development and expansion projects. Equinox Gold operates entirely in the Americas, with two properties in the United States, one in Mexico and five in Brazil. Equinox Gold’s common shares are listed on the TSX and the NYSE American.

 

Posted January 11, 2021

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