Reduced Production Costs at South Arturo Mine
RENO, NV - i-80 Gold Corporation, CEO, Ewan Downie, said, "South Arturo continues to deliver positive exploration success and mining results. 2021 will be pivotal year for the project as we incorporate the 2020 drill results into an updated reserve estimate and the joint venture progresses its work on the Phase 3 tradeoff study and planning for the development of the Phase 1 open pit operation". The South Arturo mine is a joint venture with Nevada Gold Mines LLC, operated by Barrick Gold Corporation Barrick. Several opportunities to expand production exist on the property including the continued expansion of the recently developed El Nino underground mine that represents the second operation developed at South Arturo and has delivered consistent production results since being put into production in the second half of 2019.
During the first quarter of 2021, South Arturo produced 15,752 ounces of gold and 1,440 ounces of silver from El Nino, on a 100% basis. Cash cost per ounce of gold sold was $836 and all-in sustaining cost per ounce of gold sold was $926 during the quarter, below annual guidance and a reduction from previous quarters. In 2020, 3,800 meters of drilling was completed from underground drilling stations at El Nino. The results were very positive and will be included in an updated mineral reserve and resource estimate that is expected to be completed in H2-2021. Following up on the success of this drill program, more than 8,000 meters of surface and underground exploration drilling are planned in 2021, focused on extending mineralization further down dip at the Lower El Nino and Cloud Nine targets. Additionally, the development of a ramp to access the deeper mineralization at El Nino is under way and is expected to be completed in Q1-2023. Production of orebodies accessed from the ramp is expected to begin in Q2-2022.
Production guidance for i-80's 40% interest in El Nino in 2021 is expected to be between 15,000 to 20,000 ounces of gold during the year with cash costs per ounce of gold sold between $900/oz Au and $1,000/oz and all-in sustaining costs per ounce of gold sold between $1,100/oz Au and $1,200/oz Au.