Status Phase 1 construction underway
Location California, USA
Production Potential 200,000 oz/year
two-phase ramp up
P&P Reserves3.6 Moz @ 0.56 g/t gold
M&I Resources4.3 Moz @ 0.56 g/t gold (inclusive)
Low-cost Mineaisc in lowest quartile of industry
Explorationnew higher-grade discoveries
Downloadcastle mountain pfs results
CONSTRUCTION IS UNDERWAY
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. The company 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 *
||Open pit heap leach
||Paved road and gravel roads
||3.6 Moz @ 0.56 g/t gold
|M&I Resource *
||4.3 Moz @ 0.56 g/t gold
Phase 1: 45,000 oz/year
Phase 2: 203,000 oz/year
|Phase 1 Status
Gold pour targeted for Q3-2020
|Phase 2 Status
||Feasibility and permitting underway
* Resources are inclusive of reserves
PHASE 1 CONSTRUCTION UNDERWAY
Phase 1 production targeted for 2020.
On October 30, 2019, Equinox Gold commenced full-scale construction of Phase 1 operations for Castle Mountain. The project is being developed in a phased ramp-up scenario, starting with run-of-mine heap leaching of stockpile material using existing operating permits, and then a second phase expansion that will include milling of higher-grade ore.
||Paved roads, 120 km south of Las Vegas
Federal mining permit and County conditional use permit
Minor State and County permits required to restart
Ancillary permits and a new EIS required for full ramp-up
||Phase 1: Initial ROM heap leach of stockpile material
Phase 2: Expansion with ROM heap leach and milling of higher grade ore
||Phase 1: 45,000 oz/year
Phase 2: 203,000 oz/year
||P&P: 3.6 Moz @ 0.56 g/t gold
||M&I: 4.3 Moz @ 0.56 g/t gold (inclusive)
Inf: 2.2 Moz @ 0.40 g/t gold
||Prefeasibility completed July 16, 2018
Phase 1 construction underway in Q4-2019
Higher gold prices justify putting the mine back into production
The Castle Mountain Gold Mine produced more than one million ounces of gold as an open-pit heap-leach mine from 1992 to 2004, when the mine was shut down due to low gold prices. Material below 0.50 g/t gold mined from the Oro Belle and Jumbo pits was placed into the JSLA pit.
Higher gold prices justify putting the mine back into production to process that stockpile material, which is economic using current gold prices. Recent drilling, aimed at upgrading material previously classified as waste or inferred resources within and adjacent to the pit shells, has discovered consistently good grades and also some higher-grade intercepts. Drilling has also discovered higher-grade mineralization below the backfill material, including a new zone of mineralization in the andesite footwall, which was previously thought to be unmineralized.
To access existing and potentially new resources, Equinox Gold intends to recommence production in a phased ramp-up scenario, as outlined below. Based on the July 2018 prefeasibility study, at $1,250/oz gold the project has a net present value (discounted at 5%) of US$406 million.
- Re-establish onsite operations using the current permit
- Initial mining and run-of-mine (“ROM”) heap leach processing of the historical JSLA pit stockpile material
- Production target: 45,000 oz/year for three years
- Permitting: Permits in place
- Construction requirements: Construct small leach pad and gold recovery plant
- Timeline target: Construction Q4-2019, production Q3-2020
- Higher throughput with milling of higher-grade ore and ROM heap of lower-grade material
- Production target: 203,000 oz/year
- Permit requirements: New Environmental Impact Assessment and expansion permit
- Water requirements: Source additional water for increased throughput
phase 1 CONSTRUCTION underway
On July 16, 2018, Equinox Gold released the results of a prefeasibility study for the Castle Mountain Gold Mine in California, USA. The project will be developed as an open-pit heap leach mine starting with Phase 1 run-of-mine (“ROM”) heap leaching of stockpile material from previous operations and ramping up to the Phase 2 that will include milling of a limited stream of higher-grade material and ROM leaching of the balance. With 3.6 million oz of gold reserves, Castle Mountain will be a robust, low-cost gold mine producing 2.8 million ounces of gold over a 16-year mine life.
Download the Prefeasibility Study Technical Report, or download the slide deck discussing the results.
2018 Prefeasibility Study Highlights (US$)
|Gold price (base case)
||3.6 Moz Au @ 0.56 g/t Au
|M&I Resource (inclusive of reserves)
||4.3 Moz Au @ 0.56 g/t Au
|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
|$235 M + Fleet (lease or buy)
Phase 1 $58 M
Phase 2 $175 M + Fleet
|Cash Cost (LOM)
|Cash Flow (after tax) (LOM)
||$865 M (net of initial capital)
|Phase 1 production
|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 3.6 million ounces of gold reserves remain and are economic at current gold prices. 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 2020.
During Phase 1 construction and operations, the Company will undertake the permitting and water studies required to commence Phase 2 production.