Lundin Gold has completed 59% of construction at its Fruta del Norte gold project in Ecuador, which it says is on track to produce its first gold, on budget, in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The Canadian gold miner said that first quarter of the year saw work at the Fruta del Norte gold project ramped up to enable it to reach peak construction in the second quarter.
The company, which broke ground at the gold project in mid-2017, expects to achieve commercial production in the second quarter of 2020.
Lundin Gold completed 6.1km of underground mine development at the project as of 31 March 2019. In the first quarter of the year, the company completed 1.5km of underground mine development.
The company said that the total advance for the first quarter continued above target development meters by nearly 25%. According to Lundin Gold, advance rates surpassed planned rates owing to better ground conditions, lower water inflows and improved productivity from the mine contractor.
In March, Lundin Gold completed drilling on two surface mine dewatering wells and expects to install pumps in the second quarter. The Canadian gold miner wrapped up surface drilling and grouting, and laying of the concrete foundations for the ventilation shaft collar.
Lundin Gold claimed that mine development to the bottom location of the ventilation raise is presently ahead of schedule.
The company reported that at the end of the first quarter of 2019, it has completed 79% of earthworks, 86% of concrete works, steel 56%, architectural 45%, mechanical 33%, piping 30%, electrical 55% and 17% of instrumentation works.
The miner revealed that construction of the process plant of the Fruta del Norte gold project is on track for commissioning of some systems starting from the third quarter of this year.
The Fruta del Norte gold project, which was acquired by Lundin Gold in 2014 for $240m from Kinross, holds probable reserves of 5.02 million ounces of gold grading at 8.74 grams per ton.
Lundin Gold president and CEO Ron Hochstein said: “This is a pivotal year for Lundin Gold as we move from construction to production at Fruta del Norte. During this quarter we accomplished two major milestones with the underground development reaching the orebody and introduction of the first owner mining crews.
“In the next quarter we will reach peak staffing and reach several other project milestones.”