Construction underway with first gold pour targeted for Q3-2020

Equinox Gold commenced construction at Castle Mountain in October 2019 with the target of pouring gold in Q3-2020. The Castle Mountain heap leach gold mine produced more than one million ounces of gold from 1992 to 2004, when it was shut down due to low gold prices. Higher gold prices justify putting the mine back into production.

Construction Photo Gallery

Status Phase 1 construction underway

Location California, USA

Production Potential Up to 200,000 oz/year

P&P Reserves3.6 Moz @ 0.56 g/t gold 

M&I Resources4.3 Moz @ 0.56 g/t gold 1

Inferred Resources 2.2 Moz @ 0.40 g/t gold 

Mining Style open-pit heap leach

Downloadcastle mountain pfs results

  1. M&I Resources are inclusive of reserves
  2. See Operations / Reserves & Resources and Cautionary Notes


Castle Mountain is a past-producing heap leach gold mine with a history of successful operations and excellent social and environmental performance. Equinox Gold acquired the mine in late 2017 through the acquisition of NewCastle Gold. Equinox Gold completed a prefeasibility study for the project in July 2018, outlining the economics of recommencing production in a two-phase strategy, starting at 45,000 oz per year in Phase 1 and ramping up to more than 200,000 oz per year in Phase 2.

The Board of Directors approved full-scale Phase 1 construction on October 30, 2019 and construction is well underway, with the target of pouring first gold in Q3-2020. Construction progress is documented in the Photo Gallery.

Key facts *

Mine type Open pit heap leach
Access Paved road and gravel roads
P&P Reserve 3.6 Moz @ 0.56 g/t gold 
M&I Resource * 4.3 Moz @ 0.56 g/t gold
Production Target Phase 1: 45,000 oz/year
Phase 1 Status Construction underway
Gold pour targeted for Q3-2020
Phase 2 Status Feasibility underway

* Resources are inclusive of reserves

Photo Gallery



On July 16, 2018, Equinox Gold released the results of a prefeasibility study for the Castle Mountain Gold Mine in California, USA. The prefeasibility contemplates developing the project in a phased ramp-up scenario. Phase 1 would be developed as an open-pit run-of-mine (“ROM”) heap leach mine leaching stockpile material from previous operations. Phase 2 would include milling of a limited stream of higher-grade material and ROM leaching of the balance. With 3.6 million oz of gold reserves, Castle Mountain would be a robust, low-cost gold mine producing 2.8 million ounces of gold over a 16-year mine life. 

Download the Prefeasibility Study Technical Report, or download the slide deck discussing the results.

2018 Prefeasibility Study Highlights (US$)

Gold price (base case) $1,250/oz
P&P Reserve 3.6 Moz Au @ 0.56 g/t Au
M&I Resource (inclusive of reserves) 4.3 Moz Au @ 0.56 g/t Au
Mine Life 16 years
Phase 1 production (yrs 1-3)
Phase 2 production (yrs 4-16)
Avg. 45 koz gold
Avg. 203 koz gold
Strip Ratio / Recovery 3.6 / 79%
Total Production (LOM) 2.8 Moz gold
Initial Capex
Phase 1
    Phase 2

Phase 1 $58 M 
Phase 2 $175 M + Fleet
Sustaining Capex $142 M 
Cash Cost (LOM) $712/oz
AISC (LOM) $763/oz
Cash Flow (after tax) (LOM) $865 M (net of initial capital)
NPV 5% (after tax) $406 M ($534 M at $1,350/oz gold)
IRR (after tax) 20% (25% at $1,350/oz gold)

Next Steps

The Castle Mountain Gold Mine produced more than 1.3 million ounces of gold from 1992 to 2004, when production ceased due to low gold prices. The property was substantially reclaimed from 2004 to 2012, but the Company has maintained its permits in good standing since operations ceased and has the key permits (San Bernardino County Conditional Use Permit and a Federal Record of Decision) and the water supply required to commence Phase 1 production. Phase 1 construction is underway with the objective of restarting operations in Q3-2020.

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