Gran Colombia Gold Corp. recently reported that it produced 19,072 ounces of gold in total during March 2020, which makes the production for Q1 of this year 56,247 ounces, in comparison with 60,601 ounces in Q1 of 2019.
Commenting on the Company’s latest production results, Lombardo Paredes, Chief Executive Officer of Gran Colombia, noted, “While we are pleased with our first quarter 2020 production, it came in slightly lower than expected due to the impact of the national quarantine in Colombia on Segovia’s production in the final week of March.”
We continue to operate at both Segovia and Marmato in April but at reduced production rates compared to normal as the national quarantine has limited the number of available workers in both operations. In the second half of April, we expect to see an increase in the number of workers at both operations compared to the first half of the month, but we are continuing to proceed with caution, ensuring all safety measures remain in effect and limiting discretionary capital and operating expenditures.
Lombardo Paredes, Chief Executive Officer, Gran Colombia Gold Corp.
Paredes continued, “At March 31, 2020, Gran Colombia’s cash position stood at US$81.6 million and Caldas Gold had a cash position of US$14.0 million. Both companies remain well financed to weather the challenges during the COVID-19 situation and to advance progress on their core business objectives.”
As part of the Segovia Operations, an average of 1,287 tons per day (tpd) was processed in March 2020, at an average head grade of 14.7 g/t, leading to 16,933 ounces of gold production. With this, Segovia’s total production for Q1 of 2020 is 50,346 ounces, when compared to 54,386 ounces for Q1 of 2019.
In Q1 of 2020, as part of the Segovia Operations, about 1,284 tpd was processed, which is up from 1,112 tpd in Q1 of 2019, with an average head grade of 14.9 g/t. The 2019 Q1 production of Segovia had gained from material derived from certain very high grade stopes at the Providencia mine, which had increased head grade of Segovia in Q1 of 2019 to 18.8 g/t, while the average head grade was 16.4 g/t for all of 2019.
As reported earlier, given the COVID-19 situation, the Colombian government enforced a nation-wide quarantine, with effect from March 25, 2020. Despite the fact that operations at Segovia have continued, the situation has limited the number of available workers, such as the contract miners at the El Silencio and Providencia mines.
In the final week of March 2020, Gran Colombia made use of its stockpile to add to the feed for the Maria Dama processing plant instead of higher grade material from the contract miners. It is expected that in April 2020, gold production at Segovia will be from 60% to 75% of usual predictions because of the continuing prohibitions, which affect the availability of workers over the month.
Gran Colombia is taking the slowdown as a chance to complete certain significant maintenance and refurbish its infrastructures, such as the crushing section of the Maria Dama plant, a primary apique at El Silencio, and the installation of new brakes on the hoisting equipment at Providencia.
The drilling program of the company at Segovia is in progress, where the focus of three of the six rigs in operation is on the high-priority targets at Sandra K and El Silencio.
On average, the plant processed 973 tpd in March 2020, with an average grade of 2.5 g/t leading to gold production of 2,139 ounces, at the Marmato Operations owned by Caldas Gold Corp. With this, Marmato’s total gold production for Q1 of 2020 comes to 5,901 ounces, when compared to 6,215 ounces in Q1 of 2019.
As reported earlier, the temporary shortage of explosives at the start of the year had restricted material available for processing to an average of 696 tpd in January 2020, which is nearly 30% less than normal. This led to the reduced production in Q1 of 2020, in comparison with Q1 of 2019, as total amount of material processed was about 930 tpd in Q1 of 2020, when compared to around 1,015 tpd in Q1 of 2019.
There was an increase in mill recovery by an average of 88.6% in Q1 of 2020, compared to 86.6% in Q1 of 2019. The optimization of mine workings continuously advanced in March. Much like Segovia, operations at Marmato have been ongoing in April even during the COVID-19 quarantine, but with a reduced complement of workers owing to the travel restrictions between the external communities in which workers live and Marmato.
In essence, Caldas Gold predicts that the gold production for April 2020 will be from 50% and 65% of usual predictions. Caldas Gold is taking the slowdown as an opportunity to complete the optimization of the Knelson concentrator, as well as the new flotation cell at the processing plant, which will enhance its mill recovery.
The Phase 2 drilling program in 2019 to upgrade the inferred resources in the Deeps Zone has been completed, as reported on February 3, 2020. Thus, at present, operations on the prefeasibility study are advancing as scheduled.