Mako Mining Corp. (TSX.V: MKO; OTCQX: MAKOF) is pleased to provide an operating update from its San Albino gold mine (“San Albino”) in northern Nicaragua.
All components of the 500 tonne per day gravity and carbon-in-leach (“CIL”) processing plant have been fully operational since the beginning of May 2021. Since May 12th, when the processing of high-grade mineralization began, the plant has been averaging 435 tonnes per day (“tpd”) at 77% availability (see Table 1). Since this time, the plant has been processing 90% high-grade diluted vein material and 10% historical dump and other material with a blended average grade of 10.91 grams per tonne (“g/t”) gold and recovering an average of 95.7% (see Table 1).
Since May 12th, an average of 560 tpd of diluted vein, historical dump material and other mineralized material above cutoff grade have been mined, with a strip ratio of 16.3 (see Table 1). The stockpile is now approximately 121,167 tonnes and is comprised of 5,139 tonnes of diluted vein material at 9.23 g/t gold and 116,028 tonnes of historical dump and other mineralized material at 2.51 g/t gold for a total of 10,898 ounces of gold (see Table 2).
For accounting purposes, Mako declared commercial production effective July 1, 2021.
Since May 12th, 9,116 ounces of gold have been recovered and 6,390 ounces of gold have been shipped (see Table 1). The variance of approximately 2,700 ounces of gold is a combination of unprocessed gravity concentrates, and gold in process throughout the plant. The buildup of inventory is typical during startup and inventory levels have started stabilizing in July.
The Company’s cash balance materially improved since the start of May and commencement of debt repayment has begun in addition to an increase in exploration expenditures.
A small amount of the Porcelana Zone has been mined and processed in July (less than 10% of the diluted vein tonnes) and the Company has started blending diluted vein material with historical dump material and other mineralized material above cutoff grade. Looking forward, the Porcelana Zone, which has the highest grade-thickness profile encountered at San Albino, is expected to make up greater than 50% of the diluted vein tonnes beginning later in August and thereafter.
July plant throughput of 407 tpd was impacted by labor availability at San Albino, where a higher than average level of employee turnover took place over the past two months. This required additional hiring and training of new employees. After an aggressive recruitment campaign and adjustment of salaries where appropriate, these labor issues have been mitigated for the time being.
Additionally, July’s mine plan was focused on an area where relatively modern (ca. 1920’s) underground workings were expected with more advanced timbering and underground structural support than usual. Some of this timber made its way into the plant and slowed down production, although recoveries do not appear to have been affected. Adjustments to the screening process have since been implemented to reduce the amount of timber that enters the plant.
Both labor and operational issues appear to be resolved, and plant throughput is running above July’s levels thus far in August.
Akiba Leisman, Chief Executive Officer of Mako states that, “this operating update continues to highlight the extraordinary grades being mined and processed at San Albino, especially considering that mining of the Porcelana Zone, a zone with the highest grade-thickness profile encountered at San Albino, is just now commencing. Furthermore, even though the mine just entered commercial production in July, the cash flow being generated at San Albino is providing the flexibility to begin repaying debt, continue funding an aggressive exploration program and start planning for the return of capital to shareholders.”