Trek Mining (TSX-V:TREK), NewCastle Gold (TSX:NCA) and Anfield Gold Corp (TSX-V:ANF) have combined their businesses to create Equinox Gold, a Canadian mining company now trading on the TSX Venture Exchange as “EQX.”
Within the terms of the merger, Trek is now Equinox, Anfield shares have ceased trading by way of a trading halt and NewCastle shares are expected to be de-listed shortly.
The new company based in Vancouver will focus on finishing construction of the Aurizona Gold Mine, a past-producing open-pit operation occupying a 2,250 km2 land package in the Maranhão state of north-eastern Brazil.
After producing a total of 329,042 ounces of gold over a period of five years from 2010 to 2015, Aurizona ceased work because owner Trek (back then Luna Gold) said that it needed to raise money to build new crushing and grinding circuits to handle tougher ore.
Now that the merger provides the needed capital, Equinox’s has started refurbishing the existing plant, preparing for the installation of a new crusher, SAG mill and ball, and raising the tailings facility to allow for expanded throughput to 8,000 tpd to produce on average 136,000 ounces of gold per year. The first pour is expected by the end of 2018.
Moving north, EQX has a prefeasibility study underway at the company’s Castle Mountain project in California, United States. This is a heap leach gold mine that produced more than one million ounces of gold from 1992 to 2004.
According to the miner, Castle Mountain “has more than 4 million ounces of gold remaining and significant exploration upside,” and the plan is to resume operations there in a phased ramp-up scenario, starting with run-of-mine heap leaching of backfill material from previous operations, and ramping up to a full restart that will include milling of higher-grade ore.
“We look forward to reporting on progress in 2018 as we work to achieve production and build a leading gold company,” the firm’s CEO, Christian Milau, said in a media statement.
The Equinox Gold Board of Directors also includes Pan American Silver founder, Anfield Gold’s leader and Canadian mining tycoon Ross Beaty; Greg Smith, CEO of Anthem United Inc.; Marcel de Groot, co-founder and President of Pathway Capital and former director at Treck; Lenard Boggio, former director at NewCastle Gold; Marshall Koval former President & CEO of Anfield Gold; and Jacques McMullen, former director of NewCastle Gold.