Construction of Fortuna Silver Mines’ Lindero gold project, in Argentina, has been delayed slightly, but the Canadian miner still expects commercial operations to start during the third quarter of 2019.
Fortuna president, CEO and director Jorge Ganoza on Tuesday noted that delays in the building and expansion of the camp at the site have been a limiting factor for commencing certain contracts, which has compressed the company’s timeline for the planned start of commercial operations from early to late in the third quarter.
He said field activities had picked up progressively, with a current on site head count of 330 people and a planned peak of 950 workers for December.
As a large portion of the major contracts have been awarded, the project team is working on opportunities to further optimise the sequencing of concrete, electromechanical and piping installations to streamline the project’s schedule.
Ganoza added that mass earth movement and leach pad construction, one of the initial and largest field activities, is “at full gear” after a slow start, and is advancing according to plan for completion in the second quarter of 2019.
Detailed engineering is between 70% and 100% completed for all project areas enabling the start of construction on all scheduled fronts.
The procurement of all key equipment and major construction contracts is progressing according to the project’s timetable.
“As of the end of July, we estimate we have awarded contracts and purchase orders that represent about 71% of the project’s direct capital costs.”
Initial on-site delivery of Komatsu mine equipment started in mid-July with the arrival of two graders and a dozer. The manufacturer is on schedule to deliver 11 additional pieces of equipment in September.
The mine development activities are scheduled to start in December, with drilling and blasting scheduled for March 2019.
As at June 30, total cash spent on construction at Lindero this year amounted to about $38-million, of which $31-million had been spent in the second quarter.
An infill drill programme at Lindero was completed successfully in June, with a focus on enhancing the geometallurgical model for the year one production plan. The drill rig has been moved for a 2 000 m programme to test the Arizaro satellite gold/copper target, located some 3 km from the site of Lindero’s ore processing facility.
When Lindero is in its first year of full production (2020), Fortuna’s consolidated precious metals production is expected to increase to 190 000 oz/y of gold and nine-million ounces a year of silver or 328 000 oz/y of gold equivalent.Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online