In anticipation of gold production at Relief Canyon Mine, Americas Silver has changed its name to Americas Gold and Silver along with a new gold and silver logo. According to a company statement, the new brand “reflects the increasing importance of gold in the company’s portfolio and the transition from a silver focused producer to a diversified gold and silver company.”
“The recent acquisition of the Relief Canyon Mine and reserve growth from our existing operations have increased our gold equivalent reserves by approximately 250 percent and is expected to increase our precious metals production by more than 500 percent by 2021,” Americas Gold and Silver President & CEO Darren Blasutti said the statement. “This significant increase in our leverage to gold creates a unique re-rating opportunity for our shareholders as we transition to a diversified precious metals producer with multiple assets in North America.”
Construction of a new heap leach pad and installation of a new ore crusher and conveyance system are underway with mining and the first gold pour expected before the end of the year.
“Construction continues to advance at the fully-funded Relief Canyon Project in Nevada. Leach pad construction has progressed with earthworks roughly 85 percent complete and the majority of the pad liner currently fabricated and on site. Approximately 35 percent of the liner is installed and over 35 percent of the overliner has been crushed with completion of both scheduled for early in the fourth quarter of this year,” the company told shareholders on September 5.
The company said “several key milestones” should happen this month including the delivery and installation of new refinery equipment along with the new crusher and conveyor system. Mining contractor Ledcor Group has mobilized equipment to begin “pioneering work” and major mining equipment should be mobilized this month as well, according to the statement.
“First gold pour continues to be anticipated for December of this year,” the company says.
According to Ledcor Group’s website, the mining contractor is still taking applications for haul truck drivers, a project field administrator and possibly other jobs at Relief Canyon Mine as mining gets underway this year.
In numerical terms, the company said its gold proven and probable reserves increased to 653,000 ounces as a result of the acquisition of Pershing Gold Corporation and the Relief Canyon Mine. Gold equivalent reserves (including silver reserves) increased about 250 percent from 320,000 ounces to 1.12 million ounces.
BLM and state permits allow about 30 months of mining during Phase I of the project. The company plans to mine an existing pit taking it down to an elevation of 5,080 feet with partial backfilling to prevent pit lake formation, an expanded heap leach pad, new waste rock storage facility and expanded mineral exploration across the company’s 25,000 acres of landholdings.
If Phase II is approved as expected in the second half of 2020, the pit will be deepened below the water table with a pit lake left behind when mining ends. Company officials have said the pit lake water will not be polluted by leaching of exposed pit walls and will remain safe for wildlife.
The Canadian company operates silver mines including the Galena Complex in north Idaho and owns and operates the Cosala Operations in Sinaloa, Mexico. Zinc, lead and copper are also produced at the Mexican operation. However, the emphasis is on gold production in Nevada.
“Americas is currently allocating all its available capital to restart the Relief Canyon Mine in Nevada, which is scheduled to begin producing gold in late Q4, 2019. The Relief Canyon Mine is targeted to increase the company’s precious metal production by approximately 500 percent by 2021,” the company announced in a September 9, 2019 statement for shareholders.