Equinox Gold (TSX: EQX) has provided an update on the Greenstone project in Ontario, which is being developed in a 60/40 partnership with Orion Mine Finance Group. Once built, Greenstone is expected to be one of the largest gold mines in Canada, producing more than 400,000 oz. of gold annually for the first five years and more than 5 million oz. over its initial 14-year mine life.
Equinox says Greenstone is currently over 66% complete and is on schedule to pour first gold in the first half of 2024. As well, the project is reported to have remained on budget. About 71% of total capital costs has been contracted, and C$680 million (55% of the C$1.23 billion construction budget) has been spent.
Inflationary pressures have been mitigated through offsetting savings opportunities or absorbed through the C$177 million contingency included in the construction budget, the company adds.
So far, locations on site such as the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) patrol yard, the Goldfield Creek diversion and the permanent effluent water treatment plant have already been completed. The first four bays of the truck shop are complete and in use and the 14 km natural gas pipeline is complete and ready for commissioning in second quarter of 2023.
Pre-production mining also commenced ahead of schedule, as first four haul trucks and the first shovel were commissioned during the third quarter of 2022 and mine pre-production activities got underway in September, with more than 2.5 million tonnes of material (ore, waste and overburden) excavated to year-end 2022.
“With key equipment on site or enroute, building infrastructure is essentially complete and most buildings enclosed and heated, the construction effort is shifting to interior mechanical, electrical and piping installation during the winter months. Detailed commissioning and operation readiness planning is well underway to prepare for first gold pour in the first half of 2024,” said Greg Smith, president & CEO of Equinox Gold.