Lundin Gold will invest US$18.6 million to expand its Fruta del Norte gold mine in Ecuador. The expansion is projected to be completed in 2021. It will result in a 20% increase in the mine’s production and the mill throughput will increase from 3,500 to 4,200 metric tons per day (mt), according to Lundin.

Lundin Gold estimates that the mine’s gold production in 2021 will be between 380,000 and 420,000 ounces (oz) based on an average of 10.4 g/mt and an average recovery of 90% gold. Probable mineral reserves will increase 8% to 5.41 million oz at 8.1 g/mt, mainly as a result of a change in the mining method.

The company plans to begin construction in the first quarter of 2021, followed by mine production to 4,200 mt/d in the third quarter and the mill in the fourth quarter of 2021. It is anticipated that the expansion can be completed with minimal disruption to the operations and financed with the cash flow of operations.

In 2021, Lundin will also undertake a US$11 million, 9,000-meter drilling program on two high-priority exploration targets in its concession portfolio, Barbasco and Puente-Princesa, which are located along the Pull-Apart Basin de Suárez, about seven kilometers from Fruta del Norte.