All construction has now been completed with the full leach pad now lined and available for stacking at Minera Alamos’ Santana gold mine in Sonora, Mexico. First loading of mined material from the Nicho Norte pit commenced earlier this month in preparation for the commissioning of leach operations around the end of the June.

“Since the completion of the first pit blast in May and the commencement of mining operations, we have continued in parallel the completion of final construction activities for the full leach pad area and the gold recovery plant,” CEO Darren Koningen said. “As material continues to be loaded to the pad, we are in the final phase of preparations for the start of leaching activities, which will provide us the opportunity to thoroughly test and commission the gold recovery plant ahead of first production next month.”

Current planning is focused on the optimization of key parameters for full-scale operations at the Santana project, including blast fragmentation, the crushing circuit, leach-pad stacking plans and haulage.

The company said initial blasting activities at the Nicho Norte pit have achieved a high level of fragmentation allowing most of the ore to be loaded directly on the leach pad. Additional crushing may be required for higher-grade zones and this will be handled by a mining contractor using mobile crushing equipment.

Minera Alamos expects to pour first gold from Santana by mid-2021.