MEXICO - MINEFINDERS CORP. of Vancouver is going ahead with development of the Dolores heap leach project in Chihuahua, Mexico. Construction on the US$131.6-million undertaking is expected to begin next month, with gold production commencing in mid-2007. Minefinders arranged debt financing of up to US$100 million in December 2005.
The open pit with a mining rate of 18,000 tonnes/day, heap leach and gold recovery plant have total direct capital costs of US$98.5 million plus indirect capital costs of US$33.2 million. Production over the 12-year life of the mine will average 160,000 oz gold equivalent. Total cash costs per ounce of gold equivalent are expected to be US$237.70.
Last year, proven and probable reserves at the Dolores project were estimated to be 42.2 million tonnes grading 0.797 g/t Au and 41.8 g/t Ag (or 1.2 million oz of gold and 64.8 million oz of silver). There were also measured and indicated resources of 101.1 million tonnes grading 0.84 g/t Au and 40.8 g/t Ag. Minefinders plans to complete a new resource study this spring. Significant high-grade gold mineralization is also known to occur beneath the outline of the planned pit and may lead to eventual underground mining.
Details of the economics applicable to the Dolores mine can be found at www.Minefinders.com.