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Chris Stewart out as McEwen Mining president

No replacement named, no reason given with mine expansion underway in Timmins
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Chris Stewart is no longer president and chief operating officer of McEwen Mining.

In a two-sentence news release, the Toronto-based gold miner with operations near Timmins made the announcement late on March 18.

The company gave no reason for his departure, adding only that his responsibilities are being spread out among the management team.

The move came just two days after the mid-tier miner posted its fourth quarter and year-end results showing its three mines in Timmins, Argentina and Nevada generated a cash gross profit of $33.7 million for 2019 and a gross profit of $9.0 million.

But for the year, McEwen spent $47.3 million on developing its advanced projects and for exploration, which contributed to net loss of $59.7 million.

Total gold production across the board amounted to 174,420 gold equivalent ounces, down from 175,640 ounces the previous year.

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Stewart was hired during the summer of 2018 to replace Xavier Ochoa, who resigned and has since caught on as vice-president of operations at Quintana Resources in Houston.

Stewart, a Queen's University mining engineering graduate, held more than 25 years of experience working for mine contractor Dynatec/DMC before moving on to operational and project development roles with BHP Billiton, Lake Shore Gold in Timmins, Kirkland Lake Gold, and most recently as president-CEO of Treasury Metals in developing its Goliath open-pit gold mine project near Dryden.

McEwen has gold and silver mines in North and South America, plus a number of exploration properties in the development pipeline.

In its year-end report, the company posted production at the Black Fox Mine, east of Timmins, amounted to 35,721 gold equivalent ounces, down 27 per cent from the previous year.

The company chalked that up to "operational challenges" and depleting gold reserves.

The production guidance for 2020 at the Black Fox Mine is targeted between 35,000 and 40,000 ounces.

McEwen Mining has high hopes for its larger Black Fox Complex, between Timmins and Matheson.

The 5,100-hectare property consists of some past producers along the Destor-Porcupine Fault, known to host some of Northern Ontario's richest gold mines.

Since landing in the Timmins camp in 2017, McEwen has been aggressive when it comes to exploration spending, investing $25.5 million last year to do 149,000 metres of surface drilling and 17,500 metres underground to bolster gold reserves, on top of the $22 million spent on exploration in 2018.

The company has a timetable to bring its new Froome ore body, on the west side of the Black Fox property, into production in late 2021, before moving on to its Grey Fox deposit on the property's southern edge.

A feasibility study, looking at open pit methods for Grey Fox, has started and is due out by the fourth quarter of this year.




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