Vancouver — Mining history was made in late July when
The Mulatos region has an exploration history dating back to 1536, when Spanish explorers first noticed gold in the Mulatos River. Jesuit priests settled the town in 1635, in hopes of mining that gold, but first production didn’t take place until the late 1880s. Mining was cut short by the Mexican Revolution, and the Mulatos district didn’t come into its own until the 1980s, when various companies carried out the first modern exploration campaigns.
Alamos acquired 100% of the project in 2003, after previous operators had outlined a deposit containing about 2 million oz. gold. The Toronto-based junior focused its efforts on developing a mine capable of producing 150,000 oz. gold annually over a life span of about 10.5 years. Cash costs are expected to average US$178 per oz.
The first phase of production will come from the Estrella pit, which hosts 36.3 million tonnes grading 1.63 grams gold per tonne, or about 1.9 million contained ounces. The deposit has three ore types — oxides, mixed oxides and sulphides, and sulphides — with overall recoveries expected to average 72.9%.
Mine construction is nearing completion, and prestripping of the first 3 million tonnes of material overlying the Estrella deposit is under way at a planned rate of 30,000 tonnes per day. The tonnage consists of 2.5 million tonnes of waste and 500,000 tonnes of ore grading 1.6 grams gold.
The power plant, water and leaching systems, and gold-recovery plant are being commissioned, and the refurbished crusher and stacker systems are on site awaiting assembly.
Alamos Gold is well financed, with US$33 million in its treasury. The company expects to spend at least US$18 million of that to complete construction of the Mulatos mine. The company also plans to carry out advanced exploration programs aimed at expanding open-pittable tonnage at the nearby El Salto, Mina Vieja and Escondida deposits.
Alamos Gold owns 100% of the Mulatos mine, as well as 21,300 hectares of concessions nearby.