by Ewan Downie
Today’s South Arturo update comes on the heels of our second joint venture meeting with Barrick Gold in 2016.
The update from Barrick focussed on several items including confirmation that we are on track to begin ore production during Q3. Our production guidance of 80,000 ounces of gold in 2016 remains unchanged. During the quarter we did see that we were under budget in several areas, allowing the mining costs to be reduced to US$1.33 per ton, a more than 6% reduction versus the target cost established in the budget.
We are looking forward to the start of our Minex program in June, which will again focus on upgrading our confidence in the El Nino Project. The El Nino Project has the potential to extend the mining life of the Phase 2 open pit program by continuing with underground mining from the bottom of the phase 2 pit. There is much work to be done to confirm the veracity of this project, but it all starts with drilling and our confidence in the mineralization.
Additionally, Barrick is continuing to assess the potential for open pit mining at the Dee pit (Phases 1 & 3). During the year, we will complete additional metallurgical work and refine the economics of this potential second open pit mine on the property.
We are extremely pleased with the progress being made at the South Arturo Project and the excellent performance being realized by our joint venture partner. Barrick is bringing its world-class mining expertise to South Arturo. It is a pleasure working with the professional team at Goldstrike
We are also actively drilling on our other Nevada Project, McCoy-Cove. We have a sonic drill turning on historic leach pads near the historic McCoy pit and another drill turning near the Cove pit, trying to extend the known mineralization that may reside between the Helen Zone and the CSD Zone beneath Cove. We have confidence there is plenty of mineralization yet to be discovered at this highly prospective project.
Stay tuned, it’s going to be a very busy summer in Nevada.