Lundin Gold Inc announced yesterday that is has reached major construction milestones and is now past one kilometre of underground mine development at its Fruta del Norte gold project (“Fruta del Norte” or the “Project”) in Ecuador. As at March 31, 2018, a total of 1,193 metres (“m”) of underground mine development has been achieved, with 531 m and 632 m in the Kuri and K’isa declines, respectively. The average advance rate for March was 5.95 m per decline per day, versus a target of 5.17 m per day based on ground type encountered. All underground development in March was classified as good ground type conditions.
As well, earlier this month the Company awarded the underground drill/bolt mining fleet to Epiroc Rock Drills AB. With this order, over 84% of the production fleet contracts have been placed. The outstanding mine equipment left to be ordered is the explosives delivery, shotcrete equipment and mine support equipment.
Process plant excavation was 65% complete at the end of March. The ball mill and the SAG mill base concrete foundations were poured on March 10 and March 25 respectively. Excavation of the CIL plant area is progressing well. Over the next couple of months, the Company is planning on completing the mill foundations, and concrete work on the CIL plant area is expected to commence.
With the completion of the River road connecting the camp to the Project site, site logistics have greatly improved. Travel time between camp and the Project site is now approximately 10-15 minutes, whereas it previously took up to 45 minutes using the Mountain Pass road. The North Access road is now an estimated 42% complete, and work is substantially complete on the road to the tailings storage facility.
The powerline engineering, procurement and construction contractor is mobilizing and anticipated to begin construction later this quarter. Easement agreements have been reached with nearly all the affected landholders, and the remaining easements are expected to be obtained in the coming weeks.
The new 1,000-person construction camp is complete, and all rooms are available for occupancy. Combined with the existing Las Peñas camp, over 1,700 people can be accommodated at site. Occupancy averaged 1,165 people in March, and total project employment now exceeds 2,200 people, including contractors. The new kitchen and dining room are expected to be finished by the end of the month.
Lundin Gold, headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, is developing its wholly-owned Fruta del Norte gold project in southeast Ecuador. Fruta del Norte is one of the highest-grade and largest gold projects currently under construction. The Company’s board and management team have extensive expertise in mine construction and operations and are dedicated to advancing this project through to first gold production in 2019.