Aura Minerals Inc. [ORA-TSX; AURA32-B3] has declared commercial production at its Ernesto open-pit gold mine in Mato Grosso, Brazil.
The Ernesto mine is part of the Ernesto/Pau-a-Pique (EPP) mine complex, which consists of a processing plant that is fed by the Lavrinha, Japones, Rio Alegre and now Ernesto open pit mines, as well as the Pau-a-Pique underground deposits. Last year, the EPP complex produced 55,933 oz gold at an operating cash cost of US$963/oz.
In October, 2020, the Ernesto mine alone produced 2,507 oz gold. As a result of the contribution from the Ernesto mine in October, 2020, EPP achieved its highest production since the 2016 start-up, with 8,233 oz gold produced.
At Ernesto, the company expects an increase in production in the fourth quarter of 2020, after which Aura plans to push back in the mine to access high-grade ore by the fourth quarter of 2021, which the company then expects to access through to the end of 2022.
“In January, 2019, we started to develop the Ernesto mine (pre-stripping),” said Aura President and CEO Rodrigo Barbosa.
The Ernesto mine is expected to produce approximately 125,000 oz averaging 3.0 g/t gold for the life of the mine.
Aura is a mid-tier gold and copper production company. Its producing assets include the San Andres gold mine in Honduras, the EPP gold mine complex in Brazil, the Aranzazu copper-gold-silver mine in Mexico, and the Gold Road (pre-operational) gold mine in the U.S.
The company has two additional gold projects in Brazil (Almas and Matup) and one gold project in Colombia (Tolda Fria).
Total production from all the company’s operations in Q3 2020 was 56,472 gold equivalent ounces, indicating a strong production recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in Q1 and Q2 2020.
Production in Q3 included 18,802 oz from the San Andres mine and 18,231 oz from the EPP mines. The Aranzau operation produced 17,909 oz in Q3. Aura shipped its first gold from the Gold Road project in September. The company expects to declare commercial production at Gold Road, Arizona, by December, 2020.
On Friday, Aura shares eased 3.38% or $0.42 to $12 in light trading volume. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $18.30 and $1.40.