Beaty’s Equinox ups gold reserves by 470%

Construction at Equinox Gold’s Aurizona Mine in Brazil. Source: Equinox Gold Corp.

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Construction at Equinox Gold’s Aurizona Mine in Brazil. Source: Equinox Gold Corp.

Equinox Gold Corp. [EQX-TSXV; EQXGF-OTC] on Tuesday said it has completed an updated mineral resource estimate for its Aurizona gold mine in northeastern Brazil, and an updated mineral reserve and resource estimate for its Mesquite gold mine in California.

Led by financier Ross Beaty, Equinox Gold is a well-funded, multi-asset company. Its portfolio includes the wholly-owned, past-producing Aurizona Gold Mine, and wholly-owned past-producing Castle Mountain gold mine in California.

Equinox struck a deal with New Gold Inc. [NGD-TSX, NYSE American] in September 2018, enabling it to acquire the Mesquite gold mine in California for $158 million cash.

The acquisition of the Mesquite mine immediately established Equinox as a gold producer with 25,601 ounces of gold in 2018. Mesquite has produced an average of 135,000 ounces of gold annually for the past 10 years, after commencing operations in 1985.

Equinox has said forecast production at Mesquite will be bolstered by near-term production from the company’s 136,000 ounce-per-year construction-stage Aurizona gold mine and its development-stage Castle Mountain mine.

The Aurizona gold mine is on track to achieve first gold pour by the end of the first quarter of 2019. Production at Castle Mountain is targeted for the first half of 2020.

Equinox said Mesquite adds a stable, producing asset in an established mining jurisdiction, diversifies future operating cash flow and expands Equinox’s portfolio with a third cornerstone asset.

At the end of December, 2017, proven and probable reserves at Mesquite stood at 1.13 million ounces. On top of that is 1.18 million ounces of measured and indicated resources.

Highlights from the Tuesday March 19 press release are as follows:

  • Equinox said its consolidated proven and probable reserves have increased by 470% since year-end 2017 to 5.5 million ounces of gold.
  • Aurizona measured and indicated resources have increased by 50% to 692,000 ounces of contained gold.
  • Aurizona undground inferred resources increased 115% to 1.1 million ounces of contained gold.
  • Mesquite measured and indicated resources increased 61% to 1.9 million ounces of contained gold.

“The Aurizona resource update captures the success of the 2017/2018 exploration program, demonstrating the potential to both expand the open-pit resource and develop an underground mine, which could extend production well beyond the current mine life,” said Scott Heffernan, Executive Vice-President, exploration at Equinox.

“We are also pleased with results of the Mesquite technical report and look forward to realizing on optimization and mine life extension opportunities at Mesquite,” he said.

On Tuesday, Equinox shares eased 0.81% or $0.01 to $1.23. The shares trade in a 52-week range of 85 cents and $1.29.

Equinox Gold expects to produce more than 230,000 ounces of gold in 2019 and will continue to grow its production profile with Castle Mountain development, exploration success and strategic acquisitions, the company has said.

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