Santa Luz Gold Mine : Equinox Gold begins construction on Brazilian mine
Canadian gold mining company Equinox Gold has started construction on its fully-owned Santa Luz Gold Mine in Bahia State, Brazil, with a construction budget of $103 million.
The first gold pour at the Santa Luz gold project is targeted for the first quarter of 2022.
Considering a base case $1,500/oz gold price, the Santa Luz mine is projected to produce 903,000 ounces (oz) of gold and earn $436 million in after-tax net cash over an initial 9.5-year mine life.
The Santa Luz Gold Mine is estimated to hold 1.1 million oz of open-pit gold mineral reserves with further upside from underground mineral resources.
Christian Milau – CEO of Equinox Gold said: “We continue to deliver on our sector-leading growth by launching into full construction at Santa Luz, after pouring first gold at our Castle Mountain Mine less than a month ago and first gold at our Aurizona Mine only 15 months ago.
“With initial capital of only $103 million, Santa Luz is fully funded and will start contributing significant cash flow to the Company in just over one year’s time. We are also excited to recommence exploration in the highly prospective Santa Luz-Fazenda district, the 70-kilometre-long greenstone belt that extends between our two mines in Bahia State, Brazil.”
Santa Luz is a brownfields past-producing mine, which already has majority of site services and infrastructure in place. The open-pit mine operated from mid-2013 to mid-2014, when it was put under care and maintenance after poor metallurgical recovery results from its carbon-in-leach plant (CIL plant).
According to Equinox Gold, the initial capital costs to restart the gold mine will be used for refurbishing existing infrastructure, retrofitting the plant, installation of additional grinding power, and boosting the storage capacities of the existing tailings and water storage facilities.
The Canadian gold mining company expects to begin open-pit stripping at the Santa Luz Gold Mine in February 2021. It expects to wrap up modifications and upgrades at the processing plant and tailings and water storage facilities by the end of next year.