Eagle 2021 gold output ahead of schedule
Expected to approach 200k oz this year, more in the future North of 60 Mining News – April 9, 2021
Last updated 4/29/2021 at 4:08pm
Victoria Gold Corp. April 6 reported that its Eagle Mine in the Yukon produced 26,759 ounces of gold during the first quarter of 2021. While significantly less than the 45,000- to 50,000-oz quarterly average the company hopes to achieve this year, it is a 250% increase over the 10,544 oz produced during the first quarter of 2020 and ahead of the schedule for this year.
Gold production at a heap leach operation such as Eagle lags behind mining, crushing, and ore stacking. With ore stacking curtailed through the cold winter days during the first 90 days of each year, gold production will be strongly weighted to the second half of the year.
Victoria, however, has taken advantage of the cold weather slowdown to handle maintenance and upgrades that are expected to improve productivity going into spring, which got off to an earlier than scheduled start.
"During the first quarter, we have successfully completed the winter maintenance and upgrade program, continued to irrigate the heap leach pad and pour gold and resumed stacking ore on the heap leach pad earlier than planned," said Victoria Gold President and CEO John McConnell.
As a result, the company continues to forecast 180,000 to 200,000 oz of gold produced at all-in sustaining costs of US$1,050 and US$1,175 per oz at Eagle during 2021.
And Victoria has put in motion a plan to increase annual gold output in the years to come.
Dubbed "Project 250", this plan aims to increase the average annual gold production of the Eagle Gold Mine to 250,000 oz by 2023. Victoria says the two primary opportunities to increase production are the scalping of fine ore from the crushing circuit and adjusting the seasonal stacking plan.
Scalping of fine ore is expected to reduce wear and energy requirements as well as increase overall capacity of the crushing circuit. Further investigation is underway on year-round stacking of ore to the heap leach pad. Early engineering on Project 250 is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021.
Whether it is 190,000 oz this year or 250,000 oz in 2023, success at Eagle depends on a healthy workforce.
"The company has initiated a COVID-19 vaccination program at the Eagle site and effective health protection measures continue, with no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19," said McConnell.
To date, approximately 300 employees and embedded contractors at Eagle have received their first of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. When adding in Yukon residents who have received their first dose off-site, Victoria estimates roughly 70% of the Eagle Mine workforce has received at least one dose of vaccine and anticipates the vaccination program at site to be substantially completed in May.
Victoria said it greatly appreciates the support of the Yukon Government in its efforts to reduce the risk of COVID-19 across Yukon.
There were no cases of COVID-19 identified at the Eagle Gold Mine as of April 4 and Victoria continues to follow strict COVID-19 protocols at Eagle and its other work locations.