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Fazenda Gold Mine
Producing gold in Brazil
Fazenda has been operating for nearly 40 years as both an underground and open pit mine.
~66,400 oz gold
$1,390-$1,430 per oz AISC
315 Koz @ 1.47 g/t gold
294 Koz @ 1.77 g/t gold
Mining and processing
Underground and open pit / CIL plant
Estimated mine life
~5 years with existing reserves
Fazenda is located within the Maria Preta mining district in Bahia State, Brazil, about 180 km northwest of the state capital city of Salvador and only 55 km southeast of Equinox Gold’s Santa Luz mine. Equinox Gold assumed ownership of Fazenda in March 2020 with its acquisition of Leagold Mining.
Fazenda has been in operation for nearly 40 years and has produced more than 3.3 million ounces of gold to date. Open pit mining and heap leaching began in 1984 and transitioned to underground mining with a carbon-in-pulp plant in 1988 (which was subsequently converted to carbon-in-leach in 1992). Today the mine is primarily an underground operation complemented with some small open pits.
Production at Fazenda in 2023 is forecast at 60,000 to 65,000 ounces of gold with all-in sustaining costs between $1,390 to $1,430 per ounce of gold sold. Sustaining capital of $14 million is budgeted for underground development, open-pit waste stripping, a tailings facility raise and fleet and infrastructure improvements. Non-sustaining capital of $12 million is primarily for exploration and underground development.
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Mining and Processing
The majority of mill feed (~75%) is from underground mining, with the remainder coming from a series of small open pits. Underground mining is owner-operated via five declines along an estimated 6 km strike of the mineralized trend. The underground mining rate is up to 3,800 tonnes per day which provides for approximately five years of underground production based on existing Mineral Reserves. The Company expects to extend the underground mine life with recent exploration activities and has successfully replaced the Mineral Reserves for the past five years.
Open pit mining is performed by a mining contractor with conventional truck and shovel operations. The average mining rate is approximately 4.6 million tonnes per year with a strip ratio averaging 9:1 (waste:ore). Existing Mineral Reserves support a five-year open pit mine life, with the potential for mine life extension by mining the crown pillar in a number of ore bodies.
Ore is delivered to a 3,780 tonnes-per-day crushing and grinding circuit and processed with gravity concentration and a standard carbon-in-leach plant. Gold recovery averages more than 90%.
Exploration and Geology
Fazenda is located within the Rio Itapicurú Greenstone Belt, a 100 km long and 60 km wide north-south trending volcanic-sedimentary belt situated within the São Francisco Craton. Fazenda is an epigenetic, structurally controlled, and hydrothermally altered Precambrian quartz vein hosted lode gold deposit that has been subjected to greenschist facies metamorphism. The main mineralization is in the form of sulphide-bearing quartz veining, and these multiple vein systems vary in true width from 1.5 to 40 metres.
Drilling has successfully converted Mineral Resources to Mineral Reserves for the past five years. Underground exploration opportunities exist in large gaps in historical drilling, and gold mineralization remains open along strike to the east and west. In 2021, Equinox Gold delineated Mineral Reserves in the Canto 2 open pit deposit that will be incorporated into the Fazenda mine plan in 2023.
In addition, ongoing exploration in the Bahia District along the 70 km long greenstone belt that hosts Equinox Gold’s Fazenda and Santa Luz mines, has identified the potential to establish a mining district with the opportunity to truck mineralization to either Fazenda or Santa Luz for processing, based on the ore’s metallurgical characteristics.