The latest update from Continental Gold on its Buriticá project in north-western Antioquia, Colombia, indicates the company is on track to pour gold in the first half of 2020.
The company said overall construction was 44% complete, with detailed engineering over 93% advanced.
At the same time, underground development was tracking ahead of plan at 44% completion, with 6,274 m finished to date. Process plant earthworks were 76% finished and mechanical installation was scheduled to begin in early 2019, the company said, while powerline installation was advancing rapidly and set for completion early in the September quarter.
This all bodes well for commercial production ramp-up of Buriticá taking place six months after the first gold pour.
Since completing the feasibility study for the Buriticá project in 2016, the company has been optimising the mine design and rescheduling development. This work has resulted in a reduction in total pre-production lateral development (horizontal and inclined jumbo development) from 19 km in the feasibility study to 14.3 km in the current mine plan, a reduction of approximately 25%.
In terms of underground development, monthly advance rates have consistently exceeded planned development this year. Crews continue advancing daily at the Yaraguá and Veta Sur ramps and the Higabra tunnel and upper and lower drifts connecting the Yaraguá and Veta Sur vein areas are advancing well. Additionally, definition drilling continues to provide information required for stope design and mine production scheduling.
Drill chambers continue to be extracted proximal to planned stoping areas as development advances; monthly definition drilling has been and will continue to increase through the balance of the year and into 2019 as development accesses additional drilling areas, the company said.
The feasibility study for the Buriticá project highlighted the potential to host an economically robust, high-grade underground gold mine, which includes a mineral reserve for the combined Yaraguá and Veta Sur vein systems totalling 3.7 Moz of gold and 10.7 Moz of silver at grades of 8.4 g/t Au and 24.3 g/t Ag. When in production, it would be Colombia’s largest gold mine, producing 253,000 oz/y of the yellow metal.