Mako Mining (TSX.V MKO) (OTCQX: MAKOF) has provided an operating update from its San Albino gold project in northern Nicaragua.
All components of the 500-tonne-per-day gravity and carbon-in-leach (CIL) processing plant are fully operational. The plant has been achieving throughputs above 75 per cent of rated capacity, and it has been processing high-grade material with an average grade of 16.5 grams per tonne since May 12, 2021. While a few more weeks of data are required to provide a precise estimate of metallurgical recoveries, all indications are that gold recoveries are higher than 90 per cent.
On the mining front, an average of 982 tonnes per day of diluted vein and historical dump material have been mined since the beginning of April (486 tonnes per day year-to-date), with a strip ratio of approximately 10:1 (13:1 year-to-date). The stockpile is now approximately 105,856 tonnes and comprises 17,596 tonnes of diluted vein material at 15.37 g/t gold and 88,260 tonnes of historical dump material at 2.47 g/t gold for a total of 15,687 ounces of gold.
These levels of mine and plant throughputs are the thresholds required by Mako to declare commercial production, and provided that the processing plant continues averaging these levels for the remainder of the quarter, Mako expects to be in a position to declare commercial production on July 1, 2021.
The company's cash balance, which had decreased due to the delay in the plant's start-up, has now begun to improve as gold is being recovered and sold. Provided that the plant continues to operate at its current throughput, the company expects to generate enough cash flow from operations to continue financing exploration and servicing debt. A comprehensive operating update is expected in July, following a full month of statistics from the processing plant.
To make up for the delay in the start-up of the plant, the company plans to exclusively process high-grade diluted vein material until the end of the quarter, after which time a blend of diluted vein material and historical dump material is expected to be processed. Importantly, mining of the Porcelana zone is expected to commence in early Q3. The Porcelana zone is a mineralized zone with the highest-grade thickness profile encountered at San Albino.
Akiba Leisman, chief executive officer of Mako, states: "This is an exciting moment for Mako. Our team has built San Albino in the middle of a global pandemic and after being hit by two major hurricanes during construction. I could not be prouder of the team and look forward to providing further updates on the continued ramp-up of operations at San Albino, especially as mining of the Porcelana zone commences in early Q3."