Eldorado Gold Corp. [ELD-TSX; EGO-NYSE] said it will temporarily minimize operations at its Lamaque gold mine in Quebec in a bid to comply with provincial government-mandated restrictions to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company also said it has received a certificate of authorization from the Quebec Ministry of Environment, allowing for the expansion of underground production from the Triangle deposit at Lamaque from 1,800 tonnes per day to 2,650 tonnes once operations resume.
“Effective March 25, 2020, Eldorado will ramp down operations activity and maintain only essential personnel on site responsible for maintaining appropriate health, safety, security and environment systems,” the company said in a press release on March 24, 2020.
On Wednesday, Eldorado shares advanced 6.8% or 63 cents to $9.85. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $4.10 and $14.99.
Based in Vancouver, Eldorado is a mid-tier gold and base metals producer with an international portfolio that includes mining, development and exploration projects in Turkey, Canada, Greece, Romania, Serbia and Brazil. Key operations include the Kisladag and Efemcukuru mines in Turkey, the Olympias Mine in Greece, and the Lamaque Mine in Quebec. Together they produce 395,331 ounces of gold last year, including 113,940 ounces from Lamaque.
This year, the company is forecasting production of 125,000 to 135,000 ounces of gold at Lamaque.
Located on the outskirts of Val d’Or, Quebec (Valley of Gold) at the eastern end of the southern Abitibi Greenstone Belt, the Lamaque property is home to the Sigma Mill and former Sigma and Lamaque gold mines which operated for over 50 years, starting in the 1930s, and produced almost 10 million ounces of gold. It is also home to the Triangle deposit, a greenfield discovery by Integra Gold Corp. located about 2.5km south of the historic Sigma and Lamaque mines. The Triangle deposit is the focus of the Lamaque Mine plan.
Eldorado was able to acquire a foothold in Lamaque via an initial investment for 15% of Integra Gold Corp. back in 2015, a company it later acquired for $590 million in July 2017. Eldorado refurbished the Sigma mill and installed a state-of-the-art operating system to maximize recoveries.
Eldorado started mining at the Triangle deposit at around 1,500 tonnes per day. However, the company has said it wanted to increase the underground development rates to allow for 2,650 tonnes once operations resume.
Exploration drilling of nearly 50,000 metres is planned for Lamaque during 2020. This includes 29,000 metres of resource expansion drilling in the Lower Triangle Deposit, 10,000 metres of further exploration at the new Ormaque Zone and 10,000 metres targeting other areas on the Lamaque property.
“Over the last 12 months, our surface exploration drilling at Lamaque has focused on better defining the resource potential in the less-explored lower portion of the Triangle Deposit, with a view to expanding mineral resources in 2020,” said Burns in a press release in September, 2019. “At the same time, our underground drilling continues to focus on conversion of existing resources to reserves in the C5 and lower C4 mineralized zones,” he said.
“These exciting results significantly increase the resource potential of the lower Triangle Deposit, which now shows continuity of mineralization to similar depths as the historic Sigma Mine. The asset continues to underpin our vision of building a long-term business in the eastern Abitibi and growing value for our shareholders.”