Lundin Gold (TSX: LUG) reported that its Fruta del Norte mine in Ecuador produced 96,830 ounces of gold in the fourth quarter of 2020, and total output since the operation was restarted on July 1, 2020, reached 191,080 ounces.
According to the Canadian miner, the grand total for 2020 adds up to 242,400 ounces of gold, accounting for what was produced from the moment Fruta del Norte reached commercial production on March 1, 2020.
“The grades mined, recoveries and average throughput were all better than expected during the fourth quarter. This enabled us to exceed the upper end of our gold production guidance of 170,000 ounces for the second half of 2020,” Ron Hochstein, Lundin’s president and CEO, said in a media statement.
“I am very proud of the operational results the team achieved during a challenging time, which included a 15-day blockade of the road to Fruta del Norte.”
Hochstein emphasized that the company is now focussed on continuing to optimize its operations and moving forward with the $18.6-million expansion project, which will take throughput from 3,500 to 4,200 tonnes per day over the life of mine and would be funded by cash flow from operations.
Located in southeastern Zamora Chinchipe province, the 70,000-hectare Fruta del Norte operation is considered one the largest and highest-grade gold projects in the world currently in production.
For 2021, it is expected to produce between 380,000 and 420,000 ounces of gold at an average head grade of 10.4g/t, a recovery rate of 90% and all-in sustaining costs of $770-830 per ounce.