Status Construction underway
Location Ontario, Canada
Production ~240,000 oz/yr (EQX share)
Estimated AISC ~$618/oz (LOM average)
P&P Reserves1 5.5 Moz @ 1.27 g/t GOLD
M&I Resources1 2.6 Moz @ 2.32 g/t gold1
Inferred Resources1 3.4 Moz @ 3.23 g/t gold
Mining Style Open-pit with CIL plant
Upside Potential Underground and near-mine deposits
GROUNDBREAKING FOR CONSTRUCTION
On October 27, 2021, Equinox Gold and its partner, Orion Mine Finance, celebrated groundbreaking for full-scale construction of the Greenstone Project. The entire groundbreaking ceremony or a short 8-minute highlights video are available below. The highlights video is also available with Spanish or Portuguese subtitles.
Early works activities commenced in Q2 2021 and are documented in the Photo Gallery. First gold pour is targeted for H1 2024.
Highlights from the Groundbreaking Ceremony
Watch the entire Groundbreaking Ceremony
Equinox Gold acquired a 50% interest in the Greenstone Project through its acquisition of Premier Gold Mines, and acquired an additional 10% from Orion Mine Finance Group in April 2021. The project will be advanced in a 60/40 joint venture partnership by Equinox Gold and Orion through their ownership in the Greenstone Gold Mines Partnership, which manages the project.
Between 1930 and 1970, more than 4 million ounces of gold was mined from multiple underground mines in the region. In late 2016, a feasibility study was completed on the Greenstone open pit deposit which paved the way to complete benefits agreements with local Indigenous groups and to complete the permitting required to advance the project to development. The project has excellent infrastructure including immediate access to the Trans-Canada Highway (Canada’s national highway) and the Trans-Canada natural gas pipeline.
In December 2020, Premier Gold filed an updated feasibility study for the project, outlining the design of an open-pit mine producing more than 5 million ounces of gold over an initial 14-year mine life. On October 27, 2021, Equinox Gold updated the initial construction capital estimate to reflect firm supplier quotes following detailed engineering, a review and update of capital costs using the approximate current USD:CAD exchange rate of 1.25, and an increased contingency including a provision for future inflation and potential COVID-19 impacts.
Highlights (100% basis)
- 5.54 Moz of Proven & Probable Reserves @ 1.27 g/t gold
- 5.05 Moz gold produced life of mine ("LOM")
- More than 400,000 oz/year average annual production for first five years
- More than 360,000 oz/year average annual production LOM
- Average AISC < $700/oz LOM
- $1.23 billion initial capital
- Includes $50 million spent to October 27, 2021
- Includes $177 million contingency
- Potential for ~$170 million cash spend offsets
- 14-year initial mine life with expansion potential from underground development and near-mine deposits
- First gold pour targeted for H1 2024
Feasibility Study & CAPITAL COST ESTIMATES
The 39,000-hectare Greenstone Project is located approximately 275 km northeast of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada and is host to a number of historic and recently discovered gold deposits near Geraldton. In December 2020, Premier Gold completed an updated feasibility study for the Greenstone Project (formerly called the Hardrock Project), outlining the design of an open-pit mine producing more than 5 million ounces of gold over an initial 14-year mine life. The update was based on a revised mineral reserve/resource estimate, a new life of mine plan, and advances in detailed engineering reflecting firm price bids for all major equipment including the processing plant, mobile fleet, power plant, and the water and sewage treatment plants. The feasibility contemplates the construction of a 27,000 tonne per day processing facility and open-pit mining operation. Gold production during the first five years is expected to average more than 400,000 ounces per year with an average head grade of 1.45 g/t gold.
The feasibility study is available for download and includes details on project construction, anticipated operating costs and a sensitivity matrix taking into account the effects of changes in operating costs, gold price and foreign exchange on the NPV of the project. The project timeline accounts for approximately two years of construction and six months of commissioning, with first gold pour targeted for H1 2024.
On October 27, 2021, Equinox Gold updated the initial construction capital estimate to reflect firm supplier quotes following detailed engineering, a review and update of capital costs using the approximate current USD:CAD exchange rate of 1.25, and an increased contingency including a provision for future inflation and potential COVID-19 impacts. The October 2021 initial capital estimate, on a 100% basis, is approximately $1.23 billion (C$1.53 billion), which includes more than $50 million spent to date and a $177 million contingency (approximately 14% of total initial capital). The initial cash spend could be reduced by approximately $100 million through lease financing for mobile equipment and offset by up to $70 million of pre-commercial production revenues (at a gold price of $1,750 per ounce). Equinox Gold would be responsible for funding 60% based on its 60/40 joint venture partnership with Orion Mine Finance.
|Greenstone Mine Updated Capital Costs|
|Cost Category||Initial Capital ($M)1|
|Power and electrical||62|
|Water and tailings management||80|
|General services and owner’s cost||51|
|Pre-production, start-up and commissioning||121|
|Contingency (including cost escalation and a COVID impact allowance)||177|
|Total Initial Capital Cost||$1,225|
Note: Numbers may not sum due to rounding.
The Greenstone Mine plan contemplates construction of a 27,000 tonnes-per-day processing facility and open-pit mining operation for the Hardrock deposit. The process plant consists of a crushing circuit, grinding circuit, pre-leach thickening and leaching, carbon-in-pulp circuit, carbon elution and regeneration, electrowinning and gold refining, and tailings disposal, with overall gold recovery of 91.2%.
Mining will use conventional open-pit blast, load and haul techniques. While the initial capital budget includes $125 million for Mobile Equipment, the Partners anticipate obtaining lease financing for most of the fleet, which will decrease the initial cash spend.
Greenstone Mine is located in a district with active mines and has good access to transportation and mining-related infrastructure, including Highway 11, the TC Energy Canadian Mainline (“TCECM”) natural gas pipeline and the Geraldton municipal airport, which has a runway capable of accommodating large aircraft. The project scope includes $51 million of Infrastructure Repositioning for relocation of existing infrastructure including a Hydro One electrical substation and distribution lines, an Ontario Provincial Police station and a portion of Highway 11.
The $62 million for Power and Electrical includes construction of a power plant with a designed capacity of 46.5 MW that will connect by pipeline to the TCECM. Additional new Infrastructure of $70 million includes site access and haul roads, workforce living and kitchen facilities, potable water and sewage systems, a workshop and maintenance facility, warehousing and administration buildings, explosives and reagent storage, fuel storage and distribution, a recycling and sorting facility, fire water systems and site security.
The $80 million for Water and Tailings Management includes construction of a downstream-design 145 million-tonnes-capacity tailings management facility. Water and Tailings Management also includes a series of runoff and seepage collection ponds that will direct all mine water, surface runoff and underground workings water to the centralized mine water collection pond and effluent water treatment plant, as well as construction of the potable water, sewage systems and fire systems required to safely operate the mine site.
The $121 million of Pre-production, Start-up and Commissioning includes mining and process plant pre-production and commissioning, spares and first fills. Construction Indirects of $217 million accounts for engineering, procurement and construction management, construction services, contractor mobilization and demobilization, temporary camp and site facilities, and freight and logistics. General and administration costs comprise the majority of $51 million for General Services and Owner’s Cost.
The $177 million Contingency (approximately 14% of total initial capital) was established through a facilitated quantitative risk assessment process contemplating foreign exchange fluctuations, inflation for labour, materials and equipment, and uncertainty related to COVID-19 protocols and impacts.