Los Filos Expansion

Potential to double annual production

Constructing a carbon-in-leach plant to process higher grade ore would extend the mine life by four years and add more than one million ounces of gold production.





Guerrero, Mexico

Production estimate1

+300,000 oz/year

Cost estimate1

<$1,100 per oz AISC


5,354 Koz @ 0.86 g/t gold

M&I Resources2

7,897 Koz @ 0.75 g/t gold

Mining and processing

Open-pit / underground / heap leach / CIL

Estimated mine life

14.5 years

1. Based on the 2022 feasibility study. See Cautionary Notes.
2. M&I Mineral Resources are exclusive of Mineral Reserves. See Operations / Reserves & Resources and Cautionary Notes.


In October 2022, Equinox Gold released an updated feasibility study for an expansion at Los Filos. With continued development of the Bermejal underground deposit and construction of a 10,000 tonne-per-day carbon-in-leach (CIL) processing plant, the Los Filos mine life would be extended to 14.5 years with life-of-mine (LOM) average annual production increasing to 280,000 ounces of gold (2023-2036) at all-in sustaining costs of $1,081 per ounce. Total LOM production is estimated at 3.97 million ounce of gold. Peak production during 2025-2030 averages 360,000 ounces of gold per year.

Constructing and operating the CIL plant, compared to the current heap leach only scenario, extends the Los Filos mine life by approximately four years and adds more than 1.1 million ounces of gold to LOM production.

The feasibility study contemplates construction of the CIL plant commencing in 2023 with an 18-month timeline for construction and commissioning, which would allow higher-grade ore to be directed to the CIL plant commencing in mid-2024. While the economic and production estimates outlined in the feasibility study are predicated on that timeline, Equinox Gold has not approved construction for the CIL plant.

Equinox Gold’s CEO commented: “The feasibility study confirms a path to expand Los Filos to a large-scale, long-life gold mine with a substantial mineral reserve and resource endowment and opportunity for further growth. We are pleased with the results of the feasibility study; however, we have not made a decision to proceed with the expansion. Any decision to proceed with the Los Filos expansion will be made considering the operating stability in the region, market conditions and availability and cost of capital.”

Expansion Highlights

The updated feasibility study contemplates building and operating a 10,000 tonnes-per-day CIL processing plant to operate concurrent with the existing heap leach facilities. All underground ore and higher-grade open-pit ore (generally above 0.5 g/t gold) would be directed to the CIL plant, with lower-grade ore going onto the heap leach pads as either crushed or run-of-mine stacked ore. Ore that contains higher levels of copper and sulphur would also be directed to the CIL plant to optimize the economic recovery of gold from all ore types.

Highlights from the feasibility study:

  • After-tax NPV5% of $625 million at base case $1,675/oz gold
  • After-tax IRR of 26% at $1,675/oz gold
  • 5.4 million ounces gold of Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves
  • 7.9 million ounces gold of Measured & Indicated Resources (exclusive of Reserves)
  • 3.97 million ounces life-of-mine (LOM) gold production
    • 360,000 ounces peak average annual gold production (2025-2030)
    • 280,000 ounces average annual gold production LOM (2023-2036)
    • 1.22 million ounces of gold produced from the heap leach with average recovery of 55%
    • 2.75 million ounces of gold produced from the CIL plant with average recovery of 88%
  • 11.83 million ounces LOM silver production
  • $993 million after-tax LOM cumulative net cash flow
  • $981/oz average LOM cash costs
  • $1,081/oz average LOM AISC
  • $318 million initial capital cost to build the CIL plant and associated infrastructure
  • 14.5-year mine life with extension potential from Mineral Resource conversion and exploration success


The majority of infrastructure requirements for an expansion at Los Filos are already in place, including heap leach facilities, an ADR plant, water storage and distribution, maintenance workshop, laboratory, site administration buildings, warehouse and workforce facilities. New infrastructure required includes the CIL plant, a new 40 MW electric substation, an extension of the 115kV high voltage transmission line to the new substation, an upgrade of the mobile equipment workshop, additional waste rock storage facilities, and an expansion of the heap leach pads.

Water usage for the Los Filos Mine Complex is currently 1.0 Mm3/a and the permit allows for 1.2 Mm3/a of extraction. An application to increase the water permit to 2.2 Mm3/a is in process. 

Additional power will be required to operate the CIL plant. The current capacity of its existing electrical substation is 20 MW to satisfy a demand of up to 14 MW peak demand. The CIL plant will consume additional energy beyond the capacity of the existing substation; therefore, a larger, 40 MW substation is proposed to provide electrical energy to the expanded mine. An application was made to CENACE (Mexico’s federal electricity commission utility) for the additional energy required, and CENACE completed a study to confirm energy availability and electrical infrastructure upgrades. The study will be updated once a final decision to advance the CIL plant is made.

Related Operating Mine

Los Filos has been operating since 2008 using heap leach processing.

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Growth Projects

Equinox Gold is constructing the Greenstone Mine in Canada and advancing expansion projects in Brazil and the USA.

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