Equinox Gold Corp. (TSX: EQX, NYSE American: EQX) is pleased to provide an update on construction and commissioning progress at its Greenstone Project in Ontario, Canada. The Greenstone Project is being developed as a 60/40 partnership, respectively, by Equinox Gold and Orion Mine Finance Group, and will be one of the largest gold mines in Canada, with average annual gold production of more than 400,000 ounces over the first five years and more than five million ounces of gold produced over its initial 14-year mine life.
Greenstone Project construction progress is documented weekly in a photo gallery on Equinox Gold’s website at www.equinoxgold.com and select photos are included in this news release.
Recent Highlights (at November 10, 2023 unless otherwise noted)
Schedule – The Greenstone Project is 96% complete. Pre-commissioning1 activities are ongoing in most of the main process plant areas, including the crushing and grinding circuits, and wet commissioning1 is underway in select areas.
Budget – The Greenstone Project remains on track for a total spend of $1,225 million. At September 30, 2023, $1,087 million (89%) of the budget had been spent (100% basis).
Facilities completed – The realigned 4.7 km of Highway 11 was opened to traffic in August and the power plant was turned over to the operations team in September, both ahead of plan. The permanent effluent water treatment plant, truck shop, warehouse, sewage treatment plant, potable water treatment plant, pit and plant site fuel stations, reagent storage, site mixed emulsion (explosives) plant and natural gas pipeline to site were previously turned over and are all in operation.
Construction progress – All major equipment is now on site and construction is 96% complete. The focus is on remaining electrical and instrumentation installations in the process plant. In October, the tailings storage facility (“TSF”) was completed to planned elevation. Commissioning of the TSF is on track for December 2023.
Commissioning – Pre-commissioning activities are ramping up in coordination with final construction activities, with systems checks underway at the crusher, ball mills, ore storage dome and high-pressure grinding rolls (“HPGR”) areas. Wet commissioning has commenced at the leach tanks and in the crusher area.
Pre-production mining – The third Epiroc Pit Viper 235 drill has been commissioned. Commissioning of CAT 793F haul trucks 9 and 10 is underway, and haul trucks 11 to 14 and the LeTourneau 1850 loader will be ready for service in early Q1 2024. More than 15 million tonnes of material has been moved to date and build-up of the ore stockpile is ahead of plan and on track to exceed the 800,000 tonnes start-up target.
Operational readiness – Operational readiness activities and hiring are progressing in-line with plan. An update on Greenstone 2024 operating costs and production estimates will be reported in connection with the Company’s annual production and cost guidance in Q1 2024.
Greg Smith, President & CEO of Equinox Gold, commented: “With the Greenstone Project 96% complete and the power plant fully operational, the priority is now on completion and commissioning of the process plant, commissioning of the TSF and ramp up of mining and operations. The project continues to advance on budget and on schedule. We look forward to pouring gold in the first half of 2024 and then achieving commercial production.”
Greenstone Project Progress
Progress to Date (at November 10, 2023 unless otherwise noted)
Total Overall Progress
Overall project 96% complete and on schedule to pour gold in the first half of 2024
Detailed engineering complete
Procurement 92% complete
Construction 96% complete
Continued strong health and safety performance with project-to-date Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate2 at October 27, 2023 of 3.72 per million hours worked
5.3 million hours worked with one lost-time injury
Project remains on budget. At September 30, 2023:
89% of total cost spent ($1,087 million)
All purchase order and construction contracts for project completion in place
Inflationary pressures have been mitigated through favourable exchange rates and offsetting savings opportunities, or absorbed through the $177 million contingency included in the construction budget
Process plant construction 96% complete
All major equipment installations including the ball mills, HPGR and conveyors are complete, with final work on piping and electrical underway
Demobilization of structural and mechanical contractors has commenced
Full process plant commissioning team and plans in place
All electrical rooms are energized
Pre-commissioning activities are ongoing in most of the main process plant areas, including the crushing and grinding circuits
Wet commissioning of the leach tanks and crushing circuit has commenced
Compressed air and gland water distribution have been commissioned to support commissioning activities in other areas
Tailings Facility and Water Management
TSF complete to the planned start-up elevation of 340 metres
Construction of the spillway and pipe corridor extension is nearing completion
Upstream buttress complete, downstream buttress will be complete by year end
All TSF construction required for commissioning is complete and commissioning is on track for December 2023
Truck shop, warehouse, administration office, pit and plant site fuel stations, sewage treatment plant, potable water treatment plant, site mixed emulsion (explosives) plant, and reagent cold storage building complete and operational
On-site power plant fully operational and providing power to all site infrastructure
Mobile Equipment and Mining
Mine pre-production activities operating 24/7 and on plan, with more than 15 million tonnes of material moved to date
Ten CAT 793F trucks, two Epiroc D65 drills, three Epiroc Pit Viper 235 drills, two Komatsu PC5500 shovels and four Komatsu D375A-8 bulldozers in service
Mining of ore for the commissioning stockpile is ahead of plan and on track to exceed the 800,000 tonnes planned for start-up, with 630,000 tonnes stockpiled at November 16
Plant operational readiness activities including hiring, procedures development, systems implementation, procurement activities, and training are on plan
100% of capital spares and operating spares purchased, deliveries in progress
All key operations positions are filled
More than 290 operations personnel hired to date, with 30% of personnel self-identified as having Indigenous ancestry
Demobilization of contractor workforce underway
Highway 11 relocation completed ahead of schedule and opened to traffic in August
Foundation for the Hydro One Geraldton Operating Centre is complete and building erection is underway
Planning for the Hydro One substation relocation in 2024 underway; all long lead equipment has been purchased, with many items delivered or ready for delivery
Remaining Project Milestones
Remaining milestones to achieve production include:
Tailing storage facility complete and ready for use: December 2023
Process plant hot commissioning1: Q1-Q2 2024
Gold pour: H1 2024
Equinox Gold Contacts
Greg Smith, President & Chief Executive Officer
Rhylin Bailie, Vice President Investor Relations
Tel: +1 604-558-0560