After restarting mining and processing at the San Francisco mine in Mexico in the third quarter of 2020, Magna Gold’s (TSXV: MGR) first-quarter operational results release shows significantly higher gold and silver production when compared with the output for the fourth quarter of 2020. This year, Magna expects San Francisco to generate 55,000 to 65,000 gold oz.
In the first three months of the year, the heap leach operation in Sonora state generated 9,785 gold oz. and 8,093 oz. of silver, a 31% and 76% increase over the 7,485 gold oz. and 4,609 silver oz. produced in the last quarter of 2020.
Magna is completing an accelerated stripping program at the site that appears to be increasing mine productivities. With 619,000 tonnes of ore and 5.2 million tonnes of waste mined in the first quarter, these tonnages are 45% and 76% higher than the amounts extracted in the prior period. Grades are also trending upwards: first-quarter processed grades of 0.51 g/t gold are 31% above the 0.39 g/t processed grade posted for the last three months of 2020.
Over the course of the first quarter, gold production also grew, from 3,085 oz. in January to 4,030 oz. in March. The release adds that “Magna continues to see production growth” and expects the San Francisco mine to reach commercial production by June 2021, exiting the year at over 7,500 oz. a month.
In the brief, president and CEO Arturo Bonillas noted that “we are well on our way to establishing San Francisco as a stable free cash flow generator,” and that, over the coming months, Magna will “remain focused on realizing further operational efficiencies, expanding mineral reserves and resources and seeking growth opportunities externally and within our significant pipeline of projects.”
An update on the company’s drill program is also expected in the third quarter.
Based on a preliminary feasibility study from September 2020, San Francisco could be a 16,875 t/d heap-leach operation, using existing processing capacity, generating an average of 69,000 gold oz. per year between 2021 and 2027 at AISCs of $1,204 per oz. The eight-year mine would source ore from two pits, with a minor contribution from an underground development targeting higher-grade lenses in the south wall of the San Francisco pit.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)