Leagold Planning Major Expansion at Los Filos
Los Filos produced 137,161 ounces (oz) of gold during the first three quarters of 2018. The expansion would increase average annual production to 350,000 oz per year (oz/y) from 2021 onward, including average annual production of more than 400,000 oz/y from 2021 to 2023. Capital costs are estimated at $180 million to develop the Bermejal underground mine and construct the new 4,000-metric tons-per-day (mt/d) CIL plant with related infrastructure. Current operations would fund capitalized stripping during the initial expansion phase (2019 to 2020) at the Guadalupe and Los Filos open pits. Proven and probable mineral reserves at the project currently total 111.3 million mt at an average grade of 1.23 grams/mt for 4.5 million oz of contained gold.
“When we acquired Los Filos in April 2017 from Goldcorp, we identified its potential to be developed into a long-life, low-cost operation with significant scale,” Leagold CEO Neil Woodyer said. “During the 20 months since the acquisition, we have carried out extensive exploration programs for both open-pit and underground deposits, developed a 1,330-m ramp to access the orebody at Bermejal underground, completed the Bermejal underground mine design, completed comprehensive metallurgical test work on all of the mineral deposits to support the CIL plant design, and learned a lot from current operations.”
Investment to date is approximately $30 million and forms the basis of the independent feasibility study and a 43- 101 technical report, Woodyer said. “The study forecasts a 10-year mine life with annual gold production approximately doubling from current rates. The Los Filos mineral reserves have increased to 4.5 million oz from 1.7 million oz at the acquisition in 2017.
“The study identifies a new operating strategy that includes three large open pits, two high-grade underground mines, the addition of a CIL plant to process the higher-grade ore, and the continued heap leaching of the lower-grade open-pit ore. The Los Filos expansion will also benefit from existing operations and excellent infrastructure. Approximately 51% of the gold production in the life-of-mine plan is from the CIL plant and 49% is from the existing heap leach facility.
“With this very positive study completed, we are now putting its findings into our overall corporate business model for planning and corporate financing purposes. It is obviously a project we should undertake, and, therefore, we are preparing a Los Filos development plan that includes construction planning, optimizing the sequencing of the major expansion projects, and recognizing the social and economic benefits created by the expansion opportunities and the engagement required from employees, contractors, unions, and community members,” he said.