On Budget – On Target: Greenstone Gold

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Greenstone Gold
Greenstone Gold - Stock Image

Equinox Gold Corp. (TSX: EQX) (NYSE American: EQX) has issued an update on construction 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, producing more than 400,000 ounces of gold annually for the first five years and more than five million ounces of gold over its initial 14-year mine life.

Greenstone construction progress is documented weekly in a photo gallery on Equinox Gold’s website at www.equinoxgold.com

Recent Highlights (at January 13, 2023 unless otherwise noted)

  • On schedule – The Greenstone Project is over 66% complete and on schedule to pour gold in the first half of 2024.
  • On budget – The Greenstone Project remains on budget. At December 31, 2022, 71% of total capital costs had been contracted and $680 million (55%) of the $1.23 billion construction budget had been spent (100% basis). Inflationary pressures have been mitigated through offsetting savings opportunities or absorbed through the $177 million contingency included in the construction budget.
  • Facilities completed – The construction team has completed the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Patrol Yard, the Goldfield Creek diversion and the permanent effluent water treatment plant. The first four bays of the truck shop are complete and in use. The 14-km natural gas pipeline is complete and ready for commissioning in Q2 2023.
  • Equipment delivery continues to support the construction schedule, with key equipment on site or enroute.
  • Pre-production mining commenced ahead of schedule – The first four mining haul trucks and the first shovel were commissioned during Q3 2022 and mine pre-production activities got underway in September, ahead of schedule, with more than 2.5 million tonnes of material (ore, waste and overburden) mined to year-end 2022.

Greg Smith, President & CEO of Equinox Gold, commented: “The Greenstone Project is now more than two-thirds complete and remains on budget and on schedule. With key equipment on site or enroute, building infrastructure essentially complete and most buildings enclosed and heated, the construction effort is shifting to interior mechanical, electrical and piping installation during the winter months. Detailed commissioning and operation readiness planning is well underway to prepare for first gold pour in the first half of 2024.”

Greenstone Project Progress 
Area Progress to Date (at January 13, 2023 unless otherwise noted)
Total Overall Progress

 

  • Overall project 66% complete and on schedule to pour gold in the first half of 2024
    Detailed engineering complete
    Procurement 77% complete
    Construction 56% complete
Safety
  • More than 2 million work hours completed with no lost-time injuries
  • Project to date, Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate at December 31, 2022 of 3.57 per million hours worked
Budget
  • Project remains on budget. At December 31, 2022:
    55% of total cost spent
    71% of total cost contracted
    30% of total cost awarded on a fixed cost basis
Earthworks, Concrete and Steel
  • Earthworks 73% complete (including plant site, tailings storage facility (TSF), Goldfield Creek diversion, Highway 11 realignment, water management infrastructure). Remaining earthworks include the TSF, which is ongoing, and the highway realignment and crushing area, which will recommence after the spring melt
  • Concrete 77% complete. Remainder includes the primary crusher slab on deck, high-pressure grinding roll (HPGR) pump box, west end process plant slab on grade and pre-leach thickening area
  • Structural steel 62% complete. Remainder includes the east end process plant and the HPGR building internal steel
Process Plant
  • Process plant 41% complete
  • Building enclosure and heating completed as planned for the process plant west end, power plant, secondary crusher and the ore bin tower portion of the HPGR building. The remainder of the HPGR building and east end process plant buildings are on schedule for enclosure in Q1 2023, which maintains the schedule
  • All mechanical, piping and electrical installation contracts awarded, installations underway
  • All eight leach tanks erected, mechanical installations underway
Equipment Delivery
  • All overseas and major equipment deliveries on track, including the primary and secondary crusher components, the apron feeder, conveyors, thickener and remaining prefabricated electrical rooms
  • All power plant equipment received
  • Ball mill delivery timing on track to start installation in March
Tailings Facility and Water Management
  • TSF 47% complete, south dams complete to the required elevation of 335.0 metres
  • Goldfield Creek diversion complete
  • Permanent effluent water treatment plant complete and commissioned
Power Plant and Electrical
  • Power plant 54% complete with all six gensets installed
  • Internal structural steel, walkways and platforms 86% complete; electrical and cable trays 30% complete
  • Natural gas pipeline complete and ready for commissioning
Site Infrastructure
  • Administration office, plant site fuel station and reagent cold storage buildings complete and operational
  • Sewage treatment plant complete and will be released to operations in Q1 2023; truck shop and warehouse 62% complete, first four bays of the truck shop are in use by the mine
Mobile Equipment and Mining
  • Mine pre-production activities operating 24/7 with more than 2.5 million tonnes of material moved in 2022
  • Four 250-tonne CAT 793F trucks, two Epicron D65 drills, one Komatsu PC5500 shovel and two Komatsu D475A-8 bulldozers were in use at year-end 2022
  • Commitment agreed on mobile equipment lease financing for $78 million, deferring approximately $53 million of initial capital spend (100% basis)
Infrastructure Repositioning
  • Highway 11 relocation 74% complete and progressing ahead of plan
  • New MTO Patrol Yard completed on time and handed over to the Ministry; demolition of the old facility is underway

 

Important Milestones

Construction during Q1 2023 will focus on completing enclosure of the HPGR and process plant east end buildings, receiving the majority of the remaining equipment, advancing mechanical, piping and electrical installations in the process plant and power plant buildings, and progressing the crushed ore storage and reclaim facilities. Four additional CAT 793F haul trucks, another Komatsu PC5500 shovel and another Komatsu D475A-8 bulldozer will be commissioned during Q1 2023, and the sewage treatment plant, potable water treatment plant and pit fuel station for mobile equipment will be commissioned and released to operations.

Important construction milestones include:

  • Independent QRA review of schedule and budget: June 2022
  • Process plant steel erection underway: June 2022
  • Administration building complete: July 2022
  • Delivery and assembly of pre-production fleet of four trucks and excavators: Q2-Q3 2022
  • Start of pre-production mining: September 2022
  • Permanent water effluent treatment commissioned: October 2022
  • Commence installation of gensets in power plant, power building enclosed: November 2022
  • Process plant west end, truck shop and SME plant building enclosed: December 2022
  • Leach tank erection and mechanical installations complete: Q1 2023
  • Ball mills received, commence installation: Q1 2023
  • Crushers installed, commence pre-commissioning of crushing circuit: Q3 2023
  • TSF complete and ready for use: Q4 2023
  • Highway 11 realignment complete: Q4 2023
  • Commence hot commissioning: Q1-Q2 2024
  • Gold pour: H1 2024