It was a year of milestones for Torex Gold in 2019, with the Mexico-focused gold miner posting record operational and safety performance, alongside record EBITDA and free cash flow.
The company produced 454,800 oz of gold in 2019 and is guiding for 420,000-480,000 ounces in 2020.
From a technology perspective, the company also made significant progress on advancing its Muckahi Mining System, an alternative to established underground mining processes that, Torex says, can create a more continuous mining process able to accelerate return on investment.
The benefits of the technology include an up to 30% reduction in underground mining capital expenditure, an up to 80% reduction in time between investment and revenue, up to 30% reduction in mining operating expenses and an up to 95% reduction in underground greenhouse gas emissions, Torex says.
President & CEO, Fred Stanford, said: “On the Muckahi front, we successfully demonstrated the viability of the most innovative aspects of the mining system in 2019. We are now excavating our second 30° down ramp and are continuously improving the technique.”
The company is currently testing out the technology at the El Limón Deep zone (ELD) at its El Limón Guajes mining complex (ELG), in southwest Mexico.
Incorporating 30° ramps into mine designs will be a “game changer” for the industry, according to Stanford.
“Moving beyond tunneling to ore production, we demonstrated we could achieve ‘conveyable fragmentation’ when blasting a long hole open stope. The team then demonstrated they could completely ‘muck out’ the long hole open stope with a low cost electric slusher,” he said.
With the major innovations demonstrated as viable in 2019, 2020 will focus on optimising the processes tested in 2019, and initiating testing of the various conveyor applications in the Muckahi Mining System, Stanford said.
“A conveyor for the 30°-ramp has been designed, manufactured, and is currently in transit to the mine,” he said, adding that it will be installed in the ELD deposit in the June quarter.
“We all look forward to getting the conveyor installed and demonstrating the potential,” he said.