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Equinox upbeat despite COVID-19 challenges

Recently enlarged Equinox Gold unveiled its “second consecutive quarter of record results” after market close yesterday, announcing gold production of 127,000 ounces and US$85 million in earnings.
Equinox upbeat despite COVID-19 challenges Equinox upbeat despite COVID-19 challenges Equinox upbeat despite COVID-19 challenges Equinox upbeat despite COVID-19 challenges Equinox upbeat despite COVID-19 challenges

Equinox Gold’s Mesquite mine in California

Staff reporter

The company had completed its merger with Leagold in March, which added four mines to its two operations.

Earnings for the previous corresponding period were $7.6 million.

All-in sustaining costs of $900/oz were lower than the March quarter's $968/oz, when it had produced 88,951oz.

Equinox also reported a net loss of $58.7 million or 26c per share, which it said was driven by non-cash expenses of $48.8 million on change in fair value of Canadian dollar-denominated share purchase warrants due to strong share price performance, and $37.6 million on change in fair value of historical Leagold gold hedges due to the gold price increase.

Adjusted net income was $26.6 million or 12c per share.

It did not present some results from the June 2019 quarter nor the first half of 2019, saying they were not readily comparable, as Equinox only had the Mesquite mine in operation at the time.

It subsequently started up its Aurizona mine in the first quarter of 2020 and then gained Leagold's Los Filos, Fazenda, RDM and Pilar mines.

Guidance adjustment

Equinox also adjusted 2020 guidance to reflect COVID-19 impacts and exchange rate assumptions.

The company had confirmed plans to triple production in March, putting 2020 guidance at 540,000-600,000oz at all-in sustaining costs of $1,000-$1,060/oz, to reflect the merger but cautioning at the time COVID-19 could change expectations. 

Yesterday it trimmed production guidance to 470,000-530,000oz but reduced AISC to $975-$1,025/oz.

It said the outlook reflected both the earlier suspension at Los Filos in line with Mexico's COVID-19 regulations and workforce restrictions at Fazenda, plus Mesquite and Aurizona outperforming expectations.

Looking ahead, Equinox said phase one construction at its new Castle Mountain mine was substantially complete and the first gold pour was expected in the fourth quarter.

A phase two feasibility study was slated for late 2020 looking to expand production to 200,000oz a year.

It was also investigating adding an underground mine at Aurizona and a new carbon-in-leach plant for Los Filos. 

"We look forward to achieving important milestones at a number of projects over the second half of 2020, including first production at Castle Mountain, the start of construction of the Los Filos expansion and Santa Luz restart projects, and continued exploration across our portfolio of mines," CEO Christian Milau said.

The Ross Beaty-chaired company kept guidance for sustaining capex at $90 million and at $144 million for expansion capital.

Its shares (TSX: EQX) touched a one-year high of C$16.88 yesterday before closing at $16.44 to capitalise it at $3.9 billion (US$2.9 billion).