Canadian precious metals producer McEwen Mining (TSX, NYSE: MUX) on Tuesday posted 2018 production results that exceeded expectations, with gold equivalent output climbing 15% from 152,329 ounces in 2017 to 175,561 ounces last year.
Full-year production included 135,124 ounces of gold, up 23% when compared to the previous year, and 3.03 million ounces of silver, or 4.5% less than in 2017.
Output at the Toronto-based miner 100%-owned Black Fox mine in Canada totalled 48,848 gold equivalent ounces, in line with guidance of 48K gold equiv. ounces. Production at the company’s 100%-owned El Gallo project in Mexico, in turn, reached 39,106 gold- equivalent ounces, topping guidance of about 32,000 ounces.
McEwen said it continued to evaluate the potential of constructing a new mine and mill at El Gallo. A feasibility study for the project, dubbed Fenix, is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.
The miner also reported construction at Gold Bar, in Nevada, USA, was near completion and on schedule for inaugural gold production in the current quarter.
In the last three years, Rob McEwen — one of the gold’s industry’s best-known bulls — has been aggressively working on expanding his company, which already has producing mines in Mexico, Argentina and most recently in Ontario, Canada.
His goal is to take McEwen Mining to the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, which groups the 500 largest companies that list either in the NYSE or NASDAQ.
In 2017, the Canadian resources magnate told MINING.com he was giving himself two-to-three years to make that happen through a combination of organic growth in production as well as mergers and acquisitions.
Shortly after, it acquired junior exploration company Lexam VG, which gave McEwen access to mineral properties in advanced exploration stage in the heart of Timmins Gold Camp, northern Ontario. The same year it completed the acquisition of Black Fox mine and, by December 2017, it announced it was speeding up exploration activities at its newly acquired properties near Timmins, Ontario.