Agnico Eagle reported on September 19, that commissioning was in progress at its La India gold mine in Sonora, Mexico. Mining and pad loading were under way, and initial leaching was expected to begin in October. Commercial production is anticipated in the first quarter of 2014. 

The project’s capital expenditures remain on budget at $157.6 million.

La India is located 70 km northwest of Agnico Eagle’s Pinos Altos mine. The company acquired the project, along with a 56,000-ha land position on the Mulatos gold belt, in November 2011 when it acquired Grayd Resources. Design, permitting, construction and start-up were completed within 22 months of acquisition. 

La India is an open-pit, heap leach mine, with a stripping ratio of approximately 1:1. The mining rate is expected to be approximately 16,000 mt/d, using Cat 777 haul trucks and 992 loaders, which also is the equipment used at Agnico Eagle’s Pinos Altos and Creston Mascota operations.

Ore will undergo three-stage crushing to minus 19 mm through a crushing circuit that has room for expansion.

The La India gold adsorption facility consists of two parallel trains of five 3.5-mt carbon adsorption columns and a Zadra strip, followed by electrowinning. The plant is designed to process leach flows from up to 6.0 million dry mt/y of ore. Leach recovery is estimated at 80% at a 90-day leach time. 

Gold production is expected to average approximately 90,000 oz/y at an average total cash cost of approximately $500/oz. Production during 2014 and 2015 is estimated at 40,000 oz and 81,000 oz, respectively. 

Current reserves at La India total 33.5 million mt of ore grading at 0.72 g/mt gold for 776,000 contained oz.