Aris Gold Corporation says it has taken several key steps in advancing the Lower Mine project at the Marmato Mine in Colombia. This includes following the completion of a competitive tender process the awarding of the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract to Wood, a global leader in consulting and engineering with extensive experience delivering mining projects across Latin America.
Mineralisation in the Marmato Upper Mine, located between 950 and 1,300 m elevation, is characterised by narrow veins where an existing operation mines material using conventional cut-and-fill stope methods and processes the ore in a 1,200 t/d plant. A modernisation program that will result in increased production and lower costs at the Marmato Upper Mine mine is currently in progress. Mineralisation in the Lower Mine, below 950 m elevation, includes wider porphyry mineralisation that will be mined using longhole stoping methods and processed in a newly constructed plant as part of the Caldas mine expansion project. Construction of the Lower Mine is expected to begin in Q4 2021.
The company has also received the initial $34 million of the $110 million precious metals stream financing from Wheaton Precious Metals International Ltd. Under the terms of the agreement, the remaining $76 million will be received in three installments as the development of the Lower Mine progresses.
Aris Gold has recently retained the services of Peter Burger and Greg Moss to strengthen its operating and construction team. Peter and Greg both have a long history with the Aris Gold team having previously worked in similar roles in Mexico and Brazil with Leagold Mining and in West Africa with Endeavour Mining. Peter and Greg will both be based in Colombia and primarily dedicated to the Marmato Upper Mine operations and the development of the Lower Mine.
The company also says it has completed construction of a major new 850 m2 municipal park in the community of Marmato in March 2021, and expects to complete construction in May 2021 of a modern new community centre which will provide a central location for education and training. To address the challenges of COVID-19 in the neighbouring communities, Aris Gold continues to fund the distribution of medical supplies, face masks, cleaning kits and nutrition packages.
Aris Gold CEO Neil Woodyer commented: “Awarding the EPCM contract to Wood who is commencing the detailed front-end engineering and design work is a key step to ensure the successful development and construction of the Lower Mine at Marmato, with construction scheduled to start in Q4 2021. I am very pleased to welcome back Peter Burger and Greg Moss to our team with their extensive operations and mine building expertise, at this timely moment. Peter and Greg will also be able to support the modernization process of our current operations in the Marmato Upper Mine. With these steps, we are making steady progress advancing the Lower Mine project which will see Marmato develop into a major long-life mine in Colombia. We are also pleased to continue to support our local communities.”