Equinox looking for more aquisitions

With Equinox Gold soon to complete its first full quarter of gold production from Aurizona in Brazil it will start pushing hard on growing production from its Castle Mountain operation in California, USA, while continuing to look for other assets in the Americas to bring into the company, CEO Christian Milau told Mining Journal at the 2019 Precious Metals Summit in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

Paul Harris in Beaver Creek, Colorado
Aurizona in Brazil

Aurizona in Brazil

"We want to produce at one million ounces a year by the end of 2023 so we are looking to add another couple of operations and another couple of jurisdictions," he said. These would be assets let go by major miners, or opportunities represented by taking over vulnerable single asset companies or buying from private companies.

However, Milau thinks the company now faces more competition for assets than when three companies merged a couple of years ago to form Equinox.

"We were able to form the company with backing from Ross Beatty because we had access to capital when others didn't. As the gold price gets higher there is more competition as it is easier to finance," he said.

With the phase one development at Castle Mountain due to start and come into production in 2020, the company is looking to complete a feasibility study and apply for permits for a second phase expansion, which in two- or three-years' time, could help Equinox expand its production towards 500,000oz/y.

Its guidance is to produce 200,000-235,000oz this year with 125,000-145,000oz from Mesquite in California and 75,000-90,000oz from Aurizona.

While the company is looking at acquisition possibilities it is also returning to exploration now that it is coming out of a construction phase. Some 5,000-10,000m will be drilled at Aurizona this year with scope to increase its budget allocation next year.

"We just started exploration again at Aurizona as there are a lot of targets within 15-20km of the mine. Our goal is to be able to double the mine life at surface and do studies for underground mining scenarios below 200m deep," he said.

Equinox will also look to drill at Mesquite around historical pits and adjacent to the Rainbow deposit that hosts some 400,000oz

On the corporate side, the company expects to list on the New York Stock Exchange soon and increase its trading volume with a goal of qualifying for the GDXJ ETF at its next rebalance in February 2020. It is also looking to move from the Toronto Stock Exchange Venture to the main Toronto Stock Exchange.

Shares in Equinox Gold (TSXV:EQX) are trading at C$7.71, valuing the company at $862 million.


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