Continental Gold Inc. is pleased to announce the commencement of major earthworks at its Buriticá project in northwestern Antioquia, Colombia. The Company remains well-financed with approximately US$327 million of available liquidity as of September 30, 2017.
Following a comprehensive bidding and evaluation process, the Company awarded the major earthworks contract for the Buriticá project to Gisaico S.A., a Medellín-based company founded in 1976 and dedicated to infrastructure construction throughout Colombia. Gisaico has mobilized to site to commence work, which includes: all mill site and infrastructure excavation; site water runoff protection; mechanically stabilized earth and soil-nail walls; storm-water and slope stabilization; sewer drainage systems site utility piping and electrical duct banks; and site fencing. Initial focus will be excavation for the mill site, crusher area and water treatment plant pads.
In addition, efforts continue to award other important contracts, including mill and infrastructure concrete, general contract (for steel erection, mechanical piping, electrical and instrumentation), water treatment plant installation and 110-kV power line construction. Most of these contracts are expected to be awarded prior to year-end; pouring of concrete and erection of steel are expected to commence early 2018.
Upgrades to the site access road remain on schedule with planned completion in late Q4 2017. Installation of a 3.2-km low-voltage transmission line, also on schedule for completion in Q4 2017, will provide additional power for mine development and construction. Modular building fabrication continues and, as site earthworks progresses, units will be installed throughout the first half of 2018.
Engineering and procurement is progressing ahead of schedule and mill and infrastructure engineering was over 50 percent complete as of October 31, 2017. All long-lead items have been ordered and delivery schedules meet project milestones for construction and mill startup. Shipping of equipment has begun and critical long-lead items — such as SAG and ball mills, thickeners, agitators and tailing filter presses — will begin arriving in Q2 2018. Major development equipment continues to arrive at site and the mining fleet now includes three jumbos, three LHD loaders, two mechanized bolters and one 30-tonne truck. Additional equipment scheduled for Q4 2018 delivery includes a fourth jumbo, a fourth LHD loader and a second 30-tonne truck.
The Company’s aggressive employee training and safety program continues to result in significant increase to development efficiencies. Training is focused on transitioning from the existing small-scale conventional mine to mechanized mining-related activities. Also, the Company’s equipment training programs have been extended to trainees in a cooperative program with SENA (El Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje), the Colombian Government’s apprenticeship training institute.
“Ramp-up of the Buriticá Project continues at a brisk pace,” commented Donald Gray, Chief Operating Officer. “Our Q4 2017 progress is setting the stage for project activities to further accelerate in the first quarter of 2018. Both underground development and surface construction are meeting our expectations and targets for achieving production start-up in the first half of 2020.”