Tag Archives: Ron Hochstein

Mine development ahead of schedule at Lundin Gold’s Fruta del Norte project

Lundin Gold has reached the orebody at its Fruta del Norte project in Ecuador, with mine development tracking ahead of schedule.

The Toronto and Stockholm-listed company said it has completed 4.5 km of underground mine development so far, with level development having now commenced.

In the construction update on the 3,500 t/d underground project, the company said overall engineering was 85% complete, with project construction at 45% completion.

Ron Hochstein, Lundin Gold’s President and CEO, said: “Our team has reached and, in some cases, exceeded the project’s targets, all while maintaining excellent safety standards. With 70% of our capital expenditure committed and detailed engineering nearly done, Fruta del Norte is on schedule to meet its target of producing first gold in the fourth (December) quarter of this year.”

Lundin Gold said the majority of large process plant mechanical equipment was now on site, while 22% of powerline infrastructure was finished. The company noted it had clocked up more than 3 million manhours without a lost time incident.


Lundin Gold reported that the K’isa decline was completed on December 9, 2018, after 2.1 km of total development, and transitioned to production level 1170. Production level 1195 began on December 7, 2018 and a total of 330 m of level development on two levels has been completed. December average advance rates in K’isa were 9 m/d, versus a target of 7.1 m/d.

“The Kuri decline is at 2.07 km of total development and is progressing towards lower production levels in the mine. This decline was completed this month. December average advance rates in Kuri were 5 m/d, versus a target of 4.2 m/d,” Lundin said.

“Overall, advance rates in both declines exceeded the plan by 11% due to better than expected ground conditions and lower than anticipated water inflows.”

Lundin Gold said it is preparing the first stages of transition to owner operations and its mining fleet, which includes Epiroc drills and bolters and Cat scooptrams and trucks, has started to arrive at Fruta del Norte.

Process plant

Process plant concrete foundations (pictured) are 62% complete and structural steel erection is progressing as planned, the company said. The remaining mechanical equipment is expected to be on site this quarter and installation of the carbon-in-leach (CIL) circuit and grinding mills has started. Commissioning of the process plant is still on track to begin in September quarter of this year.

In October 2017, Lundin Gold awarded the long-lead time grinding equipment packages, including the SAG and ball mills (complete with motors) and the flotation and filtration packages to Outotec Chile SA. The gravity mill, CIL and detox tanks, and ADR plant and gold room packages were awarded to FLSmidth USA Inc. TelSmith will provide the crushing packages for both the process plant and aggregate quarry crushers, while ABB has been awarded switchgear and substation equipment and transformers packages.

With process plant engineering substantially complete, engineering efforts are now focused on the paste plant – where concrete works have begun – and water treatment plant facilities, Lundin Gold said.


The company successfully negotiated the Mountain Pass Quarry Exploitation Agreement with the local government in the December quarter of 2018, and extraction of aggregate materials began shortly after. Material from the quarry was necessary to move forward with the construction of the tailings storage facility (TSF).

Access roads and the polishing pond were completed in the December quarter, while construction advanced on the surface water perimeter diversion ditches around the TSF.

When fully ramped up, Fruta del Norte is expected to produce 325,000 oz/y of gold at an all-in sustaining cost of $583/oz over a 15-year period.