“Pouring first gold at Castle Mountain, our newest producing mine in the Americas and our second operating mine in California, launches what will be a long-life flagship asset for the company,” said Equinox CEO Christian Milau.
Equinox shares were almost unchanged Friday October 16, rising 0.6% or $0.01 to $17.02 on volume of 363,783. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $17.99 and $6.60.
Equinox emerged as one of the world’s leading gold producers operating entirely in the Americas, following its recent merger with Leagold Mining Corp. in an all-share transaction worth $769.3 million.
The merger with Leagold was expected to more than triple Equinox’s annualized gold production in 2020. The company has said it is fully funded to increase production over the next two years to more than one million ounces of gold annually.
Prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic Equinox said it expected to produce 540,000 to 600,000 ounces of gold this year at an all-in-sustaining cost (AISC) of between US$1,000 and US$1,060/oz.
However, the company has been forced to revise its forecasts and now expects to produce between 470,000 and 530,000 ounces in 2020 at an AISC of between US$975 and US$1,025/oz.
Production forecasts for 2020 include guidance for the Los Filos, Fazenda, RDM and Pilar mines from March 10, the closing date of the merger with Leagold, to December 31, 2020.
Under the leadership of Chairman Ross Beaty, Equinox has built a portfolio that includes the wholly-owned, past-producing Aurizona Gold Mine, as well as the past-producing Castle Mountain mine. 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 100%-owned Castle Mountain Phase one mine is a fully-permitted run-of-mine heap leach operation, processing around 12,700 ore tonnes per day. Phase one is expected to produce an average of 45,000 ounces of gold annually in the first three years.
The company is working to complete a feasibility study for a potential phase two expansion, raising production to an average of 200,000 ounces annually from years four to 16. The phase two feasibility study is targeted for completion in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The project has measured and indicated resources of 4.3 million ounces of gold. On top of that is an inferred resource of 2.2 million ounces. Equinox has also identified additional near-mine mineralization through exploration with potential to further extend the life of the mine and increase annual production.