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'Great work staying on schedule,' says Equinox Gold boss

Greenstone open-pit construction project hits 35 per cent completion mark, first gold pour slated for 2024

Inflation? What inflation?

Equinox Gold claims progress on construction of its Greenstone open-pit gold mine is on budget and on schedule to pour its first gold bar sometime in the first half of 2024.

The Vancouver gold company delivered an update on July 27 on the pace of progress of its Greenstone pit project, three kilometres south of Geraldton. 

The overall project is 35 per cent complete with US$315 million (26 per cent) of its $1.23-billion construction budget spent as of June 30.

The Greenstone pit project is a 60-40 joint venture - Greenstone Gold Mines - between Equinox and Orion MIne Finance Group. The pair hooked up for the partnership in late 2020 and officially broke ground last October.

Valency Inc. was hired to do an independent risk evaluation of detailed engineering and the progress made at Greenstone to come up with the assessment.
 
According to their report, the site’s earthworks infrastructure is 48 per cent complete and slightly ahead of schedule, including at the processing plant (76 per cent done), tailings facility (29 per cent) and the work being done to realign Highway 11 around the mine site (39 per cent finished).

Structural concrete is 37 per cent complete with structural steel erection at 21 per cent.

The company expects most of the buildings to be finished by year's end. The processing and power plant equipment will be delivered and installed during the remainder of this year and into the first half of 2023.

Since the contractors are carving out an open pit, pre-production mining of material at the site starts in the fourth quarter of this year. 

In its news release, Equinox said four CAT 793 (250 tonne) haul trucks were delivered and are being assembled. The first Komatsu PC-5500 excavator will be assembled during this year’s third quarter.

When in commercial production, the Greenstone pit will be one of Canada’s largest gold mines, producing more than 400,000 ounces annually for the first five years of its projected 14-year mine life.

"The Greenstone team has done great work staying on schedule and on budget,” said Equinox CEO Christian Milau in a statement, “despite the challenges of starting construction during COVID and dealing with inflationary and supply chain issues.

“Excellent earthworks progress during the winter months means we can focus on concrete foundations and steel structures during the summer and fall and enclose the majority of buildings before year end, which will allow us to maintain productivity during the winter months. We look forward to hosting an investor and analyst tour in September to showcase construction progress."


  

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