Mexico-focused Minera Alamos Inc (CVE:MAI) updated on good progress this year at its Santana gold project, where it expects to make a formal construction decision in the first quarter of next year.
"As the year draws to a close the Minera Alamos team has made excellent progress at Santana in anticipation of what we expect to be our first commercial mine in 2019," said the firm's president Doug Ramshaw.
"The consistent recovered grade from the bulk test work at Nicho Norte coupled with low cyanide consumption suggests the potential for a robust open-pit, heap-leach operation."
He added: "As a result, discussions with mining contractors have been initiated in anticipation of approval of our commercial permit applications and making a final construction decision."
Minera Alamos has also embarked on water well drilling planning and updating geological models based on results from first phase drilling ahead of the expected commercial-scale operation permit.
"The recent approvals of the company's permit applications at the La Fortuna gold project exemplify a core competency of our team and its experience of working within the permitting environment in Mexico," added Ramshaw.
"We expect that these efforts will be equally successful at the company's Santana project and look forward to providing our shareholders with the news of those permits in near future."
At Santana, more than 50,000 t (tonnes) of mineralized material was mined from Nicho Norte and heap leach tested to assess grades, recoveries, reagent consumptions and the impact of crush size.
Overall gold production from test mining at the project now totals 1,040 oz (ounces) and represents a recoverable gold grade approaching 0.65 g/t (grams per ton) gold.
READ THE BIG PICTURE: Minera Alamos meeting the milestones down in Mexico in its bid to become gold producer
Meanwhile, exploration at the site has seen a successful Phase 1 drill program, which yielded positive results from the Nicho Main area including 127 m (meters) of 0.81 g/t (grams per ton) gold.
This first phase work also led to the discovery of the Divisadero porphyry target around 200 m (meters) north of the Nicho Norte zone, returning 95.7 m of 0.85 g/t gold, 9.8 g/t silver and 0.33% copper.
The company has the Fortuna open-pit project in Durango state with a positive PEA (preliminary economic assessment) completed, the Santana open-pit heap-leach development project with test mining and processing completed and the Guadalupe de Los Reyes open-pit gold-silver project in Sinaloa with mine planning in progress.
The group is also awaiting the pending approval of permit applications related to the commercial production of gold at both the Santana and Fortuna projects.
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