Status In production
Location California, USA
Production Potential Phase 1: ~40,000 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
CONSTRUCTION IS COMPLETE!
And Castle Mountain is in production! Equinox Gold announced on September 17, 2020 that construction of the Phase 1 mine at its Castle Mountain Gold Mine in California was complete and irrigation of the leach pad was underway. First gold was poured on October 15, 2020 and commercial production was announced on November 23, 2020.
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 approximately 40,000 oz per year in Phase 1 and ramping up to more than 200,000 oz per year in Phase 2.
Construction was completed with no lost-time incidents. Equinox Gold commenced pre-production mining in early June and had stacked more than 1.4 million tonnes of ore on the leach pad at September 17, 2020. Loaded carbon from Castle Mountain is processed in the carbon stripping and smelting plant at the Company’s Mesquite Mine, 200 miles south in California, resulting in increased operating efficiencies for both mines
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||In production|
|Phase 2 Status||Feasibility underway|
* Resources are inclusive of reserves
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.
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|
Phase 1 $58 M
Phase 2 $175 M + Fleet
|Sustaining Capex||$142 M|
|Cash Cost (LOM)||$712/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)|
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 project maintained its permits in good standing since operations ceased and had the key permits (San Bernardino County Conditional Use Permit and a Federal Record of Decision) required to commence Phase 1 production. The mine recommenced operations in September 2020 and is advancing a potential expansion that will increase production to approximately 200,000 ounces per year.