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Lundin Gold stock rises as it beats production guidance for second straight year

Fruta del Norte is Ecuador’s first large-scale modern gold mine. (Image courtesy of Lundin Gold | Facebook.)

Lundin Gold (TSX: LUG), which owns and operates one of the world’s highest grade gold mines in southeast Ecuador, has exceeded its production guidance for the second year in the row.

On Tuesday, the Vancouver-based company reported its operating results for the fourth quarter of 2022, showing gold production of 121,139 oz. from the flagship Fruta del Norte mine.

This resulted in total gold production of 476,329 oz. for the year, exceeding the high end of the company’s 2022 guidance of 460,000 oz.

Of the total quarterly gold production, 78,756 oz. were produced as a concentrate and 42,383 oz. as doré. During the same quarter in 2021, the company produced 107,915 oz. of gold.

In Q4 2022, the Fruta del Norte mill processed approximately 420,838 tonnes at an average throughput rate of 4,574 tonnes per day; the average grade of ore milled was 10 grams per tonne, and average recovery was 89.6%.

“We continue to push the boundaries of what Fruta del Norte is capable of, and noteworthy improvements have been made across the board as compared to last year,” Lundin Gold CEO Ron Hochstein said in a media release.

“Our average throughput of 4,574 t/d this fourth quarter is proof that there is a lot more we can get out of Fruta del Norte, and I’m particularly excited to continue building on our successes in 2023,” he added.

The Fruta del Norte project was first acquired by Lundin Gold in late 2014, eight years after its original discovery by Aurelian Resources. Construction began in 2017 and first gold was poured in 2019.

Commercial production began at Fruta del Norte in February 2020. Over an estimated 13-year life, the underground mine is expected to have average production of 340,000 oz. per year, based on its current throughput capacity of 4,200 t/d.

Shares of Lundin Gold shot up 4.3% by 1:30 p.m. ET following the guidance beat. The company’s market capitalization sits at C$3.5 billion ($2.6bn).