Guatemala , Dominican Republic and Nicaragua
Feature

Gold projects signal new wave of growth in CentAm, Dom Rep

Bnamericas Published: Friday, May 08, 2020

Mining companies are pushing ahead with a string of gold projects across Central America and the Dominican Republic with the potential to substantially boost output in the years ahead.

BNamericas takes a tour of some promising assets, ranging from early stage exploration projects to a billion dollar expansion.

1. PUEBLO VIEJO EXPANSION

Country: Dominican Republic

Company: Barrick Gold

Barrick Gold continues to push forward with a planned expansion of its Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic, Latin America’s largest gold producer.

Latest estimates put initial capex at US$1.3bn to expand the processing plant and tailings facility. Investment was previously reported at US$1.0bn.

The expansion aims to extend operations at the mine, a 60:40 JV with Newmont, to beyond 2040. Production will be maintained at around 800,000oz/y after 2022.

Barrick has developed a preliminary operating and capital expenditure estimate, execution plan and schedule, with baseline studies continuing for an environmental impact study for the plant expansion, it said in its 4Q19 MD&A report.

“Based on the advanced studies completed to date, we continue to progress our engineering and evaluation work towards a feasibility study for the process plant expansion and the proposed tailings storage facility,” the report added.

2. PUEBLO GRANDE

Country: Dominican Republic

Company: Precipitate Gold/Barrick

Precipitate Gold took a step forward at its Pueblo Grande project in the Dominican Republic after signing an earn-in agreement with Barrick.

Under the deal, Barrick can earn a 70% interest in the gold-silver project by incurring US$10mn in exploration spending and delivering a PFS within six years.

Barrick also agreed to subscribe for US$1.0m of Precipitate shares in a private placement.

Pueblo Grande is located immediately adjacent to the Pueblo Viejo mine.

The earn-in agreement will allow Precipitate to focus exploration on its other Dominican Republic properties, including Ponton, where the company has delineated a new gold exploration target.

3. CERRO BLANCO

Country: Guatemala

Company: Bluestone Resources

Bluestone Resources took a step forward at Cerro Blanco after engaging G Mining Services Inc. for basic engineering and project optimization.

The companies plan to start detailed engineering by Q4.

Bluestone also raised Cdn$92mn (US$66mn) to advance the project in a bought deal financing under an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters led by Canaccord Genuity.

Capex for the gold project is estimated at US$196mn, with production at 146,000oz/y.

Cerro Blanco could help deliver a new wave of mining production in Guatemala, where a string of mines including Pan American Silver’s Escobal silver-lead-zinc asset have been suspended for court-ordered consultations.

4. LA INDIA

Country: Nicaragua

Company: Condor Gold

Condor Gold has advanced permitting for its La India project in Nicaragua.

The company announced approval of an environmental permit to develop and exploit the América open pit, hosting 97,000oz contained gold in the indicated and inferred resources, earlier in May.

The company also secured a permit for the Mestiza pit on April 29, containing 36,000oz gold in the indicated category and 85,000oz inferred.

Following the approvals, permitted open pit mineral resources have expanded to 1.12Moz gold.

Condor also secured an extension of a deadline to complete conditions of the key environmental permit to develop and mine the La India pit to July 2021. La India hosts reserves containing 675,000oz gold.

The company is evaluating a number of production scenarios at La India, including a high-grade open pit option, targeting output of 80,000-100,000oz/y gold.

A second scenario involves adding the Mestiza and América pits, bringing production to 120,000oz/y over seven years.

5. BOROSI

Country: Nicaragua

Company: Calibre Mining/Rio Tinto Exploration

Calibre Mining’s Borosi projects in Nicaragua have attracted big name attention.

The company entered into an agreement giving Rio Tinto Exploration the right to earn up to a 75% interest in the projects for staged expenditures totaling US$45mn.

The companies have also reached an exploration agreement which will see them join forces to identify and acquire concessions in Nicaragua.

The Borosi projects host gold-silver and copper-gold resources in two areas, along with lesser explored targets.

6. ROMERO

Country: Dominican Republic

Company: GoldQuest Mining

Permitting delays have held back GoldQuest Mining’s Romero project in the Dominican Republic – but the company hopes the situation is about to change.

Energy and mines minister Antonio Isa Conde emphasized the importance of gold mining to the country in an April interview with local daily Diario Libre, calling the industry an ally that will contribute to the post-pandemic rebuilding of the economy, the company said in a release.

“We believe that our Romero project fits perfectly into the goals and objectives of minister Isa Conde’s statement,” CEO David Massola said, with the recent rise in gold prices promising greater benefits to the country.

While Isa Conde has given the green light to the project, GoldQuest continues to await presidential approval allowing it to move forward to environmental studies and feasibility.

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