CALIFORNIA – WESTERN GOLDFIELDS of Toronto says work is three months ahead of schedule at the Mesquite gold mine near Brawley, and the first gold pour will occur in January 2008. Annual production is estimated at 160,000 to 170,000 oz of gold during the following eight years.
The Mesquite mine has had several owners including NEWMONT MINING, which suspended mining operations in 2001. Western Goldfields estimates proven and probable reserves to be 118.7 million tonnes grading 0.62 g/t Au. There is also a measured and indicated resource of 67.5 million tonnes grading 0.58 g/t Au. Total contained gold in all categories tops 3.56 million oz.
Three of 14 Terex 205-ton haul trucks have arrived at the Mesquite site, along with two O&K RH 340, 45-yd hydraulic shovels. The shovels are fully commissioned and one is currently operating. All other critical mining equipment has been assembled and commissioned. Initial capital costs are estimated at US$108.6 million.
Under this new production schedule, Western Goldfields estimates the average cost of sales has increased from US$335 to US$350/oz for the first eight years of the mine plan. This increase is due to the operating costs associated with the purchase of one additional truck, the escalating cost of employment insurance in California, and enhanced employee benefits.
Additional information about the Mesquite project and the management of the company is available at www.WesternGoldfields.com.