Lundin exports gold from Ecuador’s first large-scale operation

Fruta del Norte mine, discovered in 2006. (Image courtesy of Lundin Gold)

Canada’s Lundin Gold (TSX:LUG) has exported the first gold concentrate and doré bars from its Fruta del Norte mine in Ecuador, the country’s only large scale operation.

About 180 tonnes of gold concentrate left the Port of Guayaquil on December 8, the company said. The miner also shipped on Thursday its first doré bars to a refinery in Switzerland.

Full production at Fruta del Norte is expected in the second quarter of 2020

The Vancouver-based company said that commissioning of the process plant was in its final stages, with full production expected to be achieved in the second quarter of 2020.

Lundin Gold, worth almost C$1.5 billion in Toronto, has been developing the asset for almost two years, following a 2016 agreement with Ecuador’s government that allowed it to move ahead with the project.

The company acquired the project in 2015 for $240 million from fellow Canadian miner Kinross Gold (TSX:K) (NYSE:KGC), which had to halt operations after being unable to reach an agreement with authorities regarding the terms for developing the asset.

The underground gold and silver mine, which will be Ecuador’s largest, contains six of Lundin’s 29 mining concessions and covers 70,000 hectares of land. Discovered in 2006, Fruta del Norte is expected to produce 4.6 million ounces of gold over a 15 year mine life.

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