Supply chain disruptions slow Eagle gold
Delayed heap leach pipe delivery slows output at Yukon mine North of 60 Mining News – December 17, 2021
Last updated 12/30/2021 at 2:27pm
Victoria Gold Corp. Dec. 16 reported that the global supply chain disruptions have slowed supplies in and gold out of its Eagle Gold Mine in the Yukon.
"Like many companies, we are experiencing pressure on our supply chain," said Victoria Gold President and CEO John McConnell. "We continue to work with all of our suppliers very closely to avoid such disruptions as COVID related challenges persist."
For Victoria, the gnarled supply chain resulted in a five-week delay for the arrival of a shipment of driplines used to irrigate ore stacked on the heap leach pad with a solution that dissolves the gold for recovery. With this delay, crews installed low-flow driplines that were available as an alternative. While this allowed the continued stacking of ore, the lower volume lines delivered less leach solution to freshly stacked ore than would have been with regular driplines.
With freshly stacked ore being the largest contributor to gold production at a heap leach recovery operation such as Eagle, the slower leaching of the ore is contributing to lower-than-expected gold recoveries for the fourth quarter and the year.
Through the first nine months of 2021, Victoria had produced 114,726 ounces of gold at the Eagle Mine, including 55,827 oz of gold during the third quarter.
With the third-quarter production nearly matching the first half of 2021 and gold output expected to be at least as strong during the fourth quarter, Victoria anticipated that the Yukon operation would produce more than 180,000 oz of gold this year, which is at the lower end of the guidance set out for the operation at the onset of 2021.
With gold output slowed due to the need to use low-flow driplines during much of the fourth quarter, Victoria now anticipates the 2021 gold production to be up to 10% below guidance, which would put total annual gold output closer to 162,000 oz. As a result, the company now expects the all-in sustaining cost to be as much as 5% above its previous guidance of US$1,175/oz of gold produced.
With all the low-flow driplines being replaced upon their arrival, normal gold leaching has resumed. Victoria says much of the gold that was originally expected to be produced before the end of the year is now expected to be recovered during the first quarter of 2022.
"While it is disappointing to be revising our gold forecast for 2021, our cash flow remains strong and we will realize the delayed gold ounces early in 2022," said McConnell.