Canada’s Lundin Gold (TSX:LUG) has reported record gold production for the March quarter, which marked a year since its Fruta del Norte gold-silver mine in Ecuador, the country’s largest, kicked off commercial operations.
The Vancouver-based miner churned out 104,137 ounces of gold in the first three months of the year, compared to 51,320 ounces in the same period of 2020, but only sold 81,805 ounces.
Lundin said the difference between the ounces produced and sold was mainly due to mining and processing very high-grade ore during the latter part of the first quarter. Those ounces, it said, were sold after March 31.
“Had these sales occurred in the quarter, quarterly financial results such as net income, operating cash flow and AISC would have been even stronger,” president and CEO Ron Hochstein said in the statement.
The company said that despite pandemic-related hiccups, it is on track to achieve its 2021 production goal of 380,000 to 420,000 ounces of gold.
Lundin recently increased Fruta del Norte’s reserves by 8% to 5.41 million ounces, due to changes in the planned mining method.
Based on the new figures, it now expects to produce almost 4.8 million ounces of gold at Fruta del Norte over a 14-year mine life.
The company acquired the project in 2014 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, discovered in 2006, contains six of Lundin’s 29 mining concessions in Ecuador and covers 70,000 hectares of land.
Located in southeastern Zamora Chinchipe province, the 70,000-hectare Fruta del Norte is considered one the largest and highest-grade gold projects in the world currently in production.