Torex Gold (TSX: TXG) has passed the final environmental hurdle to take its flagship Media Luna gold project towards commercial production, expected sometime late in 2024.
Media Luna is an underground deposit that forms part of the company’s Morelos complex in Mexico, which also includes the ELG mine complex and associated infrastructure. Commercial production started at Morelos in 2016.
In an announcement Thursday, the Canadian gold producer said it has obtained approval from Mexico’s environment ministry for an amendment to the key permit allowing for the deposition of tailings into the mined-out Guajes open pit.
This amendment, according to Torex CEO Jody Kuzenko, represents the last environmental approval required for the operational phase of the Media Luna project.
A March 2022 technical report outlined that approximately half of the tailings produced over the life of the Morelos complex are expected to be deposited within the Guajes open pit, with the remainder deposited underground as cemented paste backfill.
“Work to prepare the Guajes pit for future tailings deposition will commence shortly in preparation for our plans to start depositing tailings in late 2024,” Kuzenko stated.
Torex previously said it will invest somewhere between $390 million and $440 million in Media Luna in 2023, which should be the the peak year of spending since the project’s approval in early 2022. Total spending is estimated to be $848 million.
Once integrated with the ELG mine, the Morelos complex is expected to generate annual payable output of 34.8 million lb. copper and 1.33 million oz. gold over a near 12-year mine life.