Canada-based Fortuna Silver reported the “successful completion” of commissioning of the primary and secondary crushing circuits, and the beginning of ore stacking operations at the Lindero gold project, located in the Salta province, Argentina.

President Jorge Ganoza said these were “key and much-awaited milestones,” and indicated that the undertaking continues “on schedule and budget according to the revised plan, despite the challenges and limitations” to carry out construction activities under restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ganoza said heap watering is the next milestone, scheduled to take place by the end of August. The first gold pour is planned for the end of the third quarter of 2020.

The Lindero project, whose construction officially began in September 2017, was designed as an open-pit mine that will operate with 18,750 metric tons per day and a life span of 13 years, based on current mineral reserves.

Total construction capital expenditure is expected to be between US$314 million and US$320 million, according to the updated construction and commissioning schedule, which represents an increase of 28% compared to the initial feasibility estimate.