Lundin Gold Inc. (TSX: LUG) (Nasdaq Stockholm: LUG) is pleased to report that ramp up to commercial production is on schedule and on budget at its Fruta del Norte gold project A total of 28,678 ounces of gold was produced by the end of 2019.
Of the total gold production, 3,411 oz were produced in the form of doré and 25,267 oz produced as concentrate. A total of 3,400 tonnes of concentrate was produced of which 2,676 tonnes was shipped to a smelter in Finland by year end. Ramp up of operations continues according to plan in both the mine and the process plant.
“I am proud to announce that our team ended 2019 by achieving a major milestone. We produced first gold on schedule and on budget and exported our first shipments of concentrate and doré in the fourth quarter of last year,” said Ron Hochstein, President and CEO of Lundin Gold. “Ramp up is progressing well, and Lundin Gold expects to reach commercial production on schedule in the second quarter of 2020.”
Mine Development and Production
Development continues to be in line with planned rates and, as at December 31, 2019, a total of 13 kilometres (“km”) of underground mine development was completed versus a target of 11.9 km. Raise boring of the south ventilation raise is ongoing and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.
As at year end there were approximately 153,000 tonnes of ore stockpiled.
Construction progress was 99.2% complete as at year end. Only the paste plant and the Zamora River bridge remain to be completed, which are anticipated to occur in the second and third quarters of 2020, respectively. Construction of the water treatment plant was completed by year end and is currently being commissioned.
Updated Life of Mine and All-In Sustaining Cost Estimate
The Company has updated the Fruta del Norte’s LOM plan from the Updated Project Estimate, previously disclosed in September 2018. Forecasted LOM AISC increased slightly from the UPE estimate of $583/oz to $621/oz of gold, representing a 6.5% or $38 increase. Approximately $26/oz, or 68% of this increase, is due to revised price assumptions for gold ($1,400/oz from $1,250/oz) and silver ($15/oz from $20/oz), which increased estimates of royalties and production taxes and decreased estimates of by-product credits, respectively. In addition, estimates of operating costs and concentrate transport charges are marginally higher, partially offset by lower estimated sustaining capital costs. All amounts are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise indicated.
|Table 1. Life of Mine AISC ($/oz gold)|
|Area||UPE AISC||Updated AISC|
|On site operating cost||408||420|
|Transport, treatment and refining charges||78||83|
|Royalties and production taxes||74||94|
|By-product silver credit||(23)||(17)|
|Sustaining capital and closure costs||46||41|
|AISC $ per oz Au||583||621|
|Note: Numbers may not add due to rounding|
Additional Technical Information
The technical information relating to the Fruta del Norte Project contained in this Press Release has been reviewed and approved by Ron Hochstein P. Eng, Lundin Gold’s President and CEO, who is a Qualified Person under NI 43-101.
About Lundin Gold
Lundin Gold, headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, owns the Fruta del Norte gold project in southeast Ecuador. The Company’s board and management team have extensive expertise in mine operations and are dedicated to advancing Fruta del Norte to commercial production in the second quarter of 2020.
The Company operates with transparency and in accordance with international best practices. Lundin Gold is committed to delivering value to its shareholders, while simultaneously providing economic and social benefits to impacted communities, fostering a healthy and safe workplace and minimizing the environmental impact. The Company believes that the value created through the development of Fruta del Norte will benefit its shareholders, the Government and the citizens of Ecuador.
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