MEXICO – MINEFINDERS CORP. of Vancouver has a positive bankable feasibility study and an initial optimization study in hand for its 100%-owned Dolores gold and silver project in Chihuahua. Both studies assume an open pit mine, with three-stage crushing, and conventional sodium cyanide extraction on a heap leach pad, followed by a Merrill-Crowe circuit.
The feasibility study is based on proven and probable reserves of 78.7 million tonnes grading 0.77 g/t Au and 41.1 g/t Ag. It would see a 25,000-tonnes/day pit established with average annual production of about 160,000 oz of gold and 5.8 million oz of silver. Direct capital costs of US$136.9 million are estimated plus US$35.3 million for indirect costs. Total cash operating costs would be US$111/oz of gold net of silver credits.
The optimization study envisions an 18,000-tonnes/day pit, and total output of 1.45 million oz of gold and 53.2 million oz of silver over a mine life of 12 years. In this case, direct capital costs would be US$97.6 million and additional indirect costs would be US$33.5 million. Total cash operating costs would be lower, at US$94/oz of gold, net of silver credits.
Minefinders is proceeding with detailed engineering and optimization of the Dolores mine plan. Construction is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2005. To receive news updates, send your e-mail address to info@Minefinders.com.