Canadian gold junior Caldas Gold, which is soon to become Aris Gold following a transaction with a group of investors, has met its production guidance, producing 23 832 oz of gold in 2020.
Caldas, which produces gold from the Marmato mine, in Colombia, and is advancing the Juby project in Canada, produced 25 750 oz of gold in 2019 and over the last ten years has produced an average of about 23 800 oz/y.
Caldas president Lombardo Paredes says the 2020 production results helped the company gain momentum in the fourth quarter with the implementation of the enhanced mine plan in the existing upper mining operation and commencement of the plant expansion that will increase capacity from 1 200 t/d to 1 500 t/d by the third quarter of 2021.
“While 2020 had its challenges, having to adapt our operations to cope with Covid-19, we successfully kept our operations going throughout the year. We have also commenced preparatory activities related to the expansion of our underground mining operations into the Marmato Deep Zone (MDZ) while we await completion of the Marmato mining title extension, expected later this month as recently announced,” he says.
Paredes adds that Caldas’ ongoing drilling campaign in the MDZ continues to demonstrate Marmato’s “prowess as a rare world-class system”, both in terms of its size and grades. As such, he says Caldas expects to have further results available shortly from its fourth-quarter programme.
At the end of December, Paredes says Caldas had an unrestricted cash position of about $32-million and a total of about $240-million of funds being held in escrow from the gold notes offering and the Aris Gold private placement together with the Wheaton stream financing. “All of [these funds] will become available to us to fund the MDZ project following the mining title extension.”
The gold notes commenced trading on the NEO Exchange in November, 2020, and as of the end of December, Caldas had about $10-million of cash being held by the trustee to fund the monthly interest payments on the gold notes over the next 20 months.
“With the foundation established in our first year since forming Caldas Gold, we are working closely with the management team from Aris Gold to prepare for a smooth transition and the next phase of the expansion of the MDZ project,” he says.