Calibre Mining (TSX: CXB) announced on Monday the results of an updated mineral reserve and resource estimate at the company’s El Limon and La Libertad mining complexes in Nicaragua as of December 31, 2020.
Since year-end 2019, the Canadian gold miner has grown its mineral reserves by 202% to 864,000 ounces, supporting a strong foundation for what it calls a multi-year ‘hub-and-spoke’ production and growth strategy.
“With the largest mineral reserve base in the last 10 years, and the highest reserve grade on record (4.49 g/t Au), we have increased confidence in our ability to generate strong cash flow providing a platform to fund organic growth,” Calibre said in the media release.
Total reserves at the El Limon complex increased by 98% to 568,000 ounces of gold, net of 2020 production. This was driven by reserves at the Limon open pits increasing by 137% to 462,000 ounces, and reserves at Limon underground deposits increasing from 91,000 to 102,000 ounces of gold, both net of depletion.
Infill drilling at El Limon during the year has upgraded inferred mineral resources into the indicated category, with total indicated mineral resources growing 46% to 1,154,000 ounces (inclusive of reserves) and grades increasing by 22% from 2.23 g/t Au to 2.71 g/t Au.
At the Libertad complex, mineral reserves at the Libertad and Pavon mines increased from zero to 296,000 ounces of gold at a grade of 4.71 g/t Au, net of 2020 production. Jabali underground added 477,000 tonnes grading 3.92 g/t Au, containing 60,000 ounces of gold reserves, while Jabali open pits contributed 139,000 tonnes grading 4.25 g/t Au containing 19,000 ounces.
Earlier this month, Pavon added 200,000 open-pit ounces, 1.28 million tonnes grading 4.86 g/t Au, which Calibre believes will play an integral role in its hub-and-spoke operating model over the coming years, with the first ore delivered to Libertad in early 2021.
The Pavon project represents a newly emerging gold district in Nicaragua in a region that has remained largely underexplored until now, the company said. Two diamond drill rigs are currently testing the potential for lateral and vertical extensions to the Pavon Norte and Central vein systems.
Total indicated resources at Libertad and Pavon increased by 18% from 320,000 to 378,000 ounces of gold (inclusive of reserves), as a portion of Jabali underground and Socorro open-pit material was upgraded from inferred resources, partially offsetting depletion at the Jabali Antenna open pit.
Historically, the Libertad mineral concessions have produced over two million ounces of gold. Current exploration drilling is testing near mine targets with potential for additional near-surface open-pit resources.
Calibre CEO Darren Hall said he is “very pleased” with how the team has integrated the company’s assets in Nicaragua using the hub-and-spoke operating model and positively exceeded production and cost guidance in its first full year of operation.
“These assets have produced over 5 million ounces, and yet during 2020 we discovered two new zones at Limon, demonstrating the continued upside discovery potential from this long-lived and prolific epithermal gold district,” Hall said.
“With the largest mineral reserve base in a decade and a 60,000-metre discovery and resource expansion drilling program underway, Calibre is well positioned to execute and expand our multi-year ‘hub-and-spoke’ operating model including advancing satellite sources like our Eastern Borosi project in northeastern Nicaragua,” he added.