Growing miner Equinox Gold beat its revised 2020 production guidance and churned out 477,200 gold ounces last year. With 136,400 oz. generated in the fourth quarter, the company exceeded its prior forecast of 425,000 to 465,000 oz. for the year.
The 2020 production numbers include gold poured during the ramp-up and commissioning of the Castle Mountain open pit mine in California, which reached commercial production on Nov. 23.
All-in sustaining costs are expected to fall within the guidance range of $975 to $1,025 per oz.
“Equinox Gold had another year of tremendous growth in 2020. We started the year with two producing gold mines and ended the year with seven producing mines, construction underway at an eighth site, and the announcement of our acquisition of Premier Gold Mines,” Christian Milau, CEO of Equinox Gold, said in a release.
“With strong cash flow from our operating mines, $345 million in cash on hand, $200 million available to draw on the revolving credit facility and the planned C$75 million acquisition-related equity financing, Equinox Gold is fully funded to execute on our growth plans to produce more than one million ounces of gold annually.”
In December, Equinox announced an all-stock acquisition of Premier Gold Mines, valued at C$612 million. The deal, expected to close in March, would add a 50% stake in the Hardrock project in Ontario, the Mercedes mine in Mexico and the Hasaga and Rahill-Bonanza projects in Red Lake to Equinox’s asset base. Equinox is also completing a C$75 million equity raise as part of the acquisition.
The beat on production guidance includes 59,300 oz. from the RDM open pit mine in Brazil, which was expected to generate 50,000 to 55,000 oz. The Mesquite heap leach mine in California, as well as the Aurizona and Pilar mines in Brazil also performed better than expected.
Full-year guidance for the Los Filos complex in Mexico was withdrawn on Nov. 9 due to an operational suspension from a community blockade, the mine already produced 44,837 oz. until that point and, after a staged restart in December, poured 13,700 oz. that month.
Equinox expects to release full fourth-quarter and 2020 results in March; production and cost guidance for 2021 is expected in February. The guidance numbers will incorporate the Premier Gold acquisition.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)