Equinox generates 127,016 oz. in Q2, adjusts guidance

Aerial view of the plant at Aurizona Gold Mine in Brazil (foreground) and Piaba Pit (background). (Image courtesy of Equinox Gold.)

In the second quarter, producer Equinox Gold generated a total of 127,016 oz. at all-in sustaining costs of $900 per oz. sold, from six mines in the Americas.

Despite the covid-19 pandemic, Equinox still recorded its highest quarterly gold production in the quarter.

The company has also provided updated guidance for this year, due to the covid-19 pandemic – it now expects to produce 470,000 oz. to 530,000 oz. of gold at all-in sustaining costs (AISCs) of $975 per oz. to $1,025 per oz. This compares with its prior guidance for 540,000 oz. to 600,000 oz. at AISCs of $1,000 per oz. to $1,060 per oz., which was issued in March, following the closing of the Leagold acquisition. The most recent guidance reflects updated costs and exchange rate assumptions.

Company closed out the quarter with $494.1 million in unrestricted cash and equivalents

Government-mandated suspensions affected the Los Filos as well as Fazenda and Pilar mines in Mexico and Brazil, respectively. In Q2, the Mesquite heap leach operation in California contributed 36,842 oz. to the company’s total while the Aurizona open pit in Brazil churned out 32,091 oz. – these two operations outperformed internal expectations.

“All of our mines are now operating normally, with enhanced testing and safety protocols and we remain focused on protecting the health and economic wellbeing of our workforce and local communities while continuing to safely operate our mines,” Christian Milau, the company’s CEO, said in a release.

Equinox recorded cash flow from operations of $83.7 million (after changes in working capital) as well as temporary care, maintenance and ramp-up costs of $16 million due to the coronavirus pandemic. With earnings from mine operations of $85.1 million, the company closed out the quarter with $494.1 million in unrestricted cash and equivalents.

“We look forward to achieving important milestones at a number of projects over the second half of 2020, including first production at Castle Mountain, the start of construction of the Los Filos expansion and Santa Luz restart projects, and continued exploration across our portfolio of mines,” Milau added.

On the development front, the first phase of the construction of the Castle Mountain heap leach operation in California is almost complete, with the first gold pour expected in the fourth quarter. At the past-producing Santa Luz project in Brazil, Equinox is finalizing costs and engineering work ahead of an upcoming construction decision. A pre-feasibility study has also started to evaluate the potential to develop the underground portion of Aurizona.

The company has also started routine covid-19 testing at its sites to pro-actively identify any carriers of the virus.

Tuesday afternoon, Equinox’s stock was down 5.5% on the TSE. The company has a C$3.6 billion market capitalization.

(A version of this article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)