Equinox Developing Phase 1 of Castle Mountain Project
Loaded carbon from Castle Mountain will be trucked to the Mesquite mine and processed through the Mesquite ADR (adsorption, desorption and refining) plant. Gold production from Castle Mountain Phase 1 is expected to average 45,000 ounces per year (oz/y) over three years of operation. Early works construction for Phase 1 began in early October, including detailed engineering, procurement, and installation of piping, other infrastructure, and heap-leach earthworks. Installation of leach pad liners began in November. The first gold pour based on Phase 1 heap leaching is planned for the third quarter of 2020.
Phase 1 development is budgeted at $58 million, including working capital and a 12% contingency. Phase 1 construction is fully funded from Equinox’s existing treasury, cash flow based on current gold prices, and available funding facilities.
Phase 2 is planned to increase Castle Mountain production to 200,000 oz/y based on processing of 41,000 mt/d of ore, of which 2,300 mt/d of higher-grade ore will be processed through a milling circuit. Although Phase 2 will operate within the existing mine boundary, the increased mining and water extraction rates will require amendments to current project permits.
A Phase 2 feasibility study is underway, with completion scheduled for the second half of 2020, at which time Equinox will submit an application to amend its existing plan of operations and permits to support the Phase 2 expansion. Phase 2 is currently projected to have a mine life of 13 years.
Equinox Gold CEO Christian Milau said, “Castle Mountain will be Equinox Gold’s third producing gold mine and our second mine in California. Construction of Phase 1 of Castle Mountain is the first step in building a project that will ultimately be a long-life, 200,000-oz/y gold mine, bringing significant benefits to Equinox Gold’s shareholders, local communities, and the state of California.”
Equinox Gold is a Canadian company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. Its currently producing mines are the Mesquite mine in California and the Aurizona mine in northeast Brazil.