Equinox Gold Corp has announced that it has awarded the mining contract for its Aurizona gold mine in Brazil to U&M Mineração e Construção S/A (“U&M”). U&M is a Brazilian company with more than 40 years of mining contract experience offering earthworks, implementation and operation of mines and material-hauling services.
The company has worked on a number of mining projects in Northern Brazil, including the Carajás iron ore mine for Vale and recently the Tucano gold mine for Beadell Resources. U&M is certified by ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 and has a reputation for efficiency, safety and quality. U&M is currently mobilizing to site to commence mining activities in March.
Aurizona Construction Highlights
– Overall project is 30% complete and EPCM (engineering, procurement and construction management) activities are 45% complete as at the end of February
– U&M mobilization is underway to commence mining activities in March
– Tailings facility raise is substantially complete
– Plant refurbishment is substantially complete
– Project construction is fully funded
– Construction remains on track to pour gold by late 2018
The existing tailings facility is being raised to support the restart of operations with the first raise to be completed prior to production and two additional lifts to be completed over the life of the mine. The first tailings facility raise is substantially complete and the tailings facility is ready to receive and store water during the current wet season in anticipation of process plant start-up in the fourth quarter.
Fabrication and assembly of the SAG mill and ball mill by CITIC Heavy Industries Co. is well advanced. Equinox Gold’s third-party inspector has been conducting regular visits to the manufacturing facility to confirm the quality of the mill fabrication. The mills remain on schedule with delivery to Aurizona expected in June 2018.
Refurbishment of the existing CIP circuit and detox tanks is substantially complete and expected to be finished in March. Concrete work is 50% complete. The mill foundations are in place and the pedestals are expected to be completed in early March. First delivery of structural steel for new plant facilities is expected in March. Construction of the incinerator building is complete and full mechanical and electrical installation is expected to be finished in April.
The high-voltage power upgrade required for the new plant is underway with longest lead items being delivered to site during March. In addition, infrastructure works to accommodate new equipment in two sub stations have commenced with completion and commissioning on schedule for Q3-2018. Aurizona has formalized with the Maranhão state electrical utility CEMAR to migrate to the “free market” in Q4-2018. With this formally in place, Aurizona will be able to purchase power from a variety of power suppliers in Northern Brazil at a lower cost than the current fixed-price arrangement.
Equinox Gold has awarded a contract to SGS Geosol Brazil to supply and operate an on-site assay lab facility. Design and equipment purchases are underway with the expectation that the lab will be operational in phases and fully functional by the end of Q3-2018.