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Fortuna starts Lindero leaching

Fortuna Silver Mines has started irrigating and leaching of ore at its Lindero gold project in Salta, Argentina, with the first gold pour expected in early October.
Fortuna starts Lindero leaching Fortuna starts Lindero leaching Fortuna starts Lindero leaching Fortuna starts Lindero leaching Fortuna starts Lindero leaching

Lindero in Salta, Argentina

Some 277,000 tonnes of ore with an average grade of 0.87 grams per tonne containing an estimated 7,750oz have been placed on the leach pad.

"Despite of all the restrictions and challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are managing to successfully advance Lindero in a safe and secure manner for our personnel and neighbours. With the start of irrigation, we achieved one more key milestone in the pre-production phase as we prepare for what follows, the first gold pour at our third producing mine," said president and CEO Jorge Ganoza.

By the end of August, the company achieved daily throughput of 17,400 tonnes per day, 93% of the design capacity of 18,750tpd. Pre-commissioning of the ADR plant is 80% complete.

The mine development has been plagued with cost overruns, and more recently, delays dye to the COVID-19 pandemic as the site was demobilised in March due to Argentina's mandatory COVID-19 social isolation restrictions. The company guided that it expects Lindero to produce 25,000-28,000oz between September and December 31, compared with an estimated 60,000-80,000oz this year forecast in February.

It reiterated a capex forecast of US$314-$320 million for Lindero's construction, flagged earlier this year and 28% higher than the 2017 feasibility estimate, which saw the company undertake a $60 million bought-deal financing to help finish the build.

Shares in Fortuna Silver Mines are trading at C$9-18, valuing the company at $1.7 billion.