Orvana Minerals to suspend operations at Los Tojas in Bolivia, stock down

El Valle-Boinás/Carlés project in Spain. Photo by Orvana Minerals.

Orvana Minerals Corp. (TSX: ORV) announced Friday that it will suspend mining operations at its Las Tojas gold mine in Bolivia effective on or before December 31, 2019.

Orvana said it is suspending operations at the mine, wholly owned through its subsidiary Empresa Minera Paititi SA, (EMIPA) because of a higher than expected ore grade operational mining dilution with more narrow, erratic and discontinued mineralized structures, which is resulting in uneconomic unitary cost per ounce.

The Canadian-based junior miner said that notwithstanding the suspension of mining operations at Las Tojas, the previously announced development and engineering of the oxides stockpile that has accumulated from past mining activities at Don Mario continues to advance.

Earlier this year, Orvana posted a relatively strong fiscal second quarter ended March 31, with good performance from its two operating mines — Don Mario and the El Valle gold-copper mine in Spain.

At Don Mario during the second quarter, Orvana produced 9,564 oz. gold, or 11% less than in the first fiscal quarter but almost the same as the year-ago quarter.

“Given the anticipated near-term transition into our Oxides Stockpile Project, it is the right decision to suspend operations at Don Mario to mitigate a higher unitary cost burden onto the Company,” Juan Gavidia, Orvana’s CEO said in the media release. “Subject to a favourable outcome of the analysis of the feasibility of the oxides stockpile, we are committed to funding and building the Oxides Stockpile Project, which is expected to commence in early FY2021, with 33 months of expected low-cost gold and copper production.”  

Gavidia added that operations at Elle Valle remain stable, and delivery of gold production “remains sustainable.”

Orvana’s shares closed Friday down 22%. The day’s trading volume reached 743,300. The average volume is 121,714. The company has a C$19.6 million market capitalization.

(With files from The Northern Miner)

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