The Fruta del Norte plant processes ore from a healthy stockpile. (Photo: Fruta del Norte)

The Fruta del Norte mine exported its first shipment of gold concentrate from the Port of Guayaquil, in Ecuador, to the European market. The cargo that sailed on December 8 amounted to 177.9 tons of the ore. Production of this concentrate started on November 15.

The gold was transported from the mining company in eight sealed containers, 22 tons each. The cargo was escorted by armed security units all the way to the Port of Guayaquil, where it was stored in a guarded area, and then loaded on the ship.

Minister of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources José Agusto said that 2019 was key for the Ecuadorian mining sector. “With the first export of Fruta del Norte, a responsibly managed mining activity is consolidated, an activity that complies with all current legal regulations, promotes the development of its communities and generates resources for the country,” he said. “This mine estimates export revenues for $7.89 billion between 2019 and 2034.”

The vehicles transporting the gold concentrate from the Fruta del Norte mine are covered by an insurance policy, are monitored by GPS systems and are driven by qualified drivers.

During 2019, three daily trucks with 22 tons each will leave the Fruta del Norte mine toward the Port of Guayaquil. This amount will increase every year, until reaching its maximum production within the next three years.

The Fruta del Norte mine — opened on November 14 — will have an estimated life span of 15 years and will annually produce 310,000 ounces (oz) of gold and 400,000 oz of silver. A total of $2.7 billion was invested for the mine development.