Equinox Gold tables Brazil mine expansion study

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Equinox Gold Corp. [EQX-TSXV, EQXGF-OTC] on Monday announced the results of a prefeasibility study (PFS) for expansion at its 100%-owned Aurizona Gold Mine in Brazil.

The PFS considers the addition of an underground mine beneath the existing Piaba pit as well as the inclusion of two satellite open pit areas: Tatajuba and Genipapo. By mining the underground and open pit deposits concurrently with the existing Piaba open pit, the expansion would extend the Aurizona mine life to 11 years, with average annual production of 137,000 ounces of gold. Total life of mine production is forecast at 1.5 million ounces.

Peak production is expected to occur in years 2026 to 2029, averaging more than 160,000 ounces annually. Cost estimates are pegged at US$803 per ounce average life of mine costs and US$944 average all-in-sustaining costs (AISC) from 2024 onward (and US$1,058 per ounce average AISC life of mine).

On Monday, Equinox shares were largely unchanged on the news, easing 0.76% or $0.07 to $9.04 on volume of 447,080. The shares currently trade in a 52-week range of $17.50 and $7.53.

Equinox Gold is a Canadian mining company with seven operating gold mines, construction underway at an eight site, a multi-million ounce gold reserve base and a clear path to achieve one million ounces of annual gold production from a pipeline of development and expansion projects.

Equinox operates entirely in the Americas, with two properties in the United States, one in Mexico and five in Brazil.

The company has said it expected to produce between 470,000 and 530,000 ounces in this year at an AISC of between US$975 and US$1,025 an ounce.

Recently the company cemented its status as the leading America’s focused gold producer by agreeing to acquire the Premier Gold Mines Ltd. in a friendly all-stock deal worth $612 million.

The transaction was expected to provide a clear path to production for the Hardrock gold project in Ontarion, which contains 5.54 million ounces of proven and probable gold reserves grading 1.27 g/t and will be developed in a joint venture with Orion Mine Finance.

Hardrock is expected to produce 358,000 ounces of gold annually over a 14-year lifespan, including an average of 414,000 ounces annually in the first five years.

Meanwhile, updated mineral reserve and resource estimates for Aurizona, incorporating the new underground and open pit deposits while offsetting 18 months of mining depletion, show a 73% increase over a December 31, 2019 estimate with 1.7 million ounces of gold in the proven and probable reserve category, grading 1.60 g/t gold. On top of that is 868,000 ounces of gold in the measured and indicated resource category, grading 1.49 g/t gold.

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