Year-round stacking successful for Victoria
Results in 11% overall gold increase over 2022 production North of 60 Mining News – January 19, 2024
Last updated 2/22/2024 at 1:45pm
Victoria Gold Corp. Jan. 15 reported that despite the various ups and downs of 2023, it produced a total of 166,730 ounces of gold for the year, an 11% increase from 2022 and testimony to the feasibility of year-round ore stacking.
The company's decision to stack ore on the heap leach pad during the first three months of 2023, a departure from previous years at Eagle, resulted in 37,619 oz gold produced during the first quarter-a 55% increase over 24,358 oz produced during the first three months of 2022.
Despite a drop in third-quarter production due at least partly to an evacuation of Eagle in late July and early August as wildfires approached the operation, the company is pleased to report it successfully achieved its targeted gold production guidance for 2023.
"The Eagle Gold Mine achieved our 2023 production guidance of 160,000-180,000 ounces of gold," said Victoria Gold President and CEO John McConnell. "This is a record level of production for Eagle and an 11% increase year-over-year."
Since pouring the first bar of gold in the fall of 2019, Victoria typically refrained from stacking ore on the heap leach pad at Eagle during the first three months of each year due to the cold weather in the Yukon. Instead, the company took this time to carry out maintenance and other activities at the mine.
However, to reach its capacity goal of 250,000 oz, the company opted to begin year-round stacking to even out gold production.
As a result, 2.1 million metric tons of ore were stacked on the heap leach pad during the first quarter, a 133% increase over the 900,000 metric tons stacked during the first three months of 2022. The ore stacked on the pad during the first quarter of this year averaged 0.86 grams per metric ton, significantly higher than the 0.72 g/t gold ore stacked on the pad during the same period of 2022.
This number would remain fairly consistent as the second quarter saw 2.5 million metric tons stacked at 0.74 g/t gold, which resulted in 45,568 oz of gold produced compared to the 32,055 oz from 2022.
The third quarter saw 2.3 million metric tons stacked at 0.65 g/t, a significantly lower grade than the year prior, resulting in a 17% drop. However, the company attributed the lower grades to mine sequencing.
Closing the year, it appears Victoria found a sweet spot as it stacked 2.1 million metric tons of ore at 0.65 g/t gold, finishing off the year with 41,982 oz gold produced for the fourth quarter and a total of 166,730 ounces for 2023.
"In 2023, we successfully demonstrated the feasibility of year-round stacking on the heap leach facility, resulting in more consistent quarterly gold production and a mitigation of the impacts of seasonality," said McConnell. "We intend to continue year-round stacking in 2024 and look forward to increased year-over-year production levels again this year."