Aguia, West Red Lake Push to Restart Gold Mines in Colombia and Canada

The gold price has pulled back from record-setting levels seen earlier in 2024, but remains historically high. Against that backdrop, explorers are working to bring past-producing assets back into production.

Last week, Aguia Resources (ASX:AGR) announced plans to expedite the reopening of its recently acquired Santa Barbara gold mine in Colombia, while West Red Lake Gold Mines (TSXV:WRLG,OTCQB:WRLGF) provided an outline of the steps it is taking to restart its Madsen gold mine, which is located in Ontario, Canada.

Here's a look at the work the companies are doing at their respective operations.


Aguia to reopen Santa Barbara gold mine in late 2024

On June 7, Aguia announced a detailed work program for the reopening of the Santa Barbara gold mine following its successful takeover of Andean Mining. The plan involves plant and infrastructure improvements, as well as various points related to the reestablishment of underground mining operations at the site.

Among other steps, the capacity of Santa Barbara's treatment plant will be expanded from 30 to 50 metric tons per day. A new crushing circuit will also be installed, increasing leaching capacity and upgrading power generation.

“We are pleased to receive such unanimous acceptance of the takeover offer from Andean shareholders and we are now fully focused on the next six months to establish a strong and sustainable cash generating operation at the high grade Santa Barbara mine,” said Aguia Chairman Warwick Grigor in a press release.

The company aims to complete these upgrades and start production by late 2024.

In addition to the treatment plant upgrades, Aguia will be recommissioning the Santa Barbara tunnel and setting up a new adit and on-reef development at the Mariana mine. It will also install new, larger compressors.

“I am thrilled to join the Aguia team and spearhead our plans to convert the Santa Barbara gold mine to a near-term cash generating asset as part of the Company’s broader expansion efforts,” commented William Howe, who will be coming to the company as managing director.

West Red Lake plans Madsen gold mine restart by H2 2025

For its part, West Red Lake outlined plans on June 5 to restart the Madsen gold mine by H2 2025.

It aims to produce a prefeasibility study for the restart in early 2025, and has already outlined several infrastructure projects, including a 1,200 meter connection drift, a permanent primary crusher and a test-mining program.

“With the funds raised in our recent financings, including $10 million in Canadian Development Expense flow-through funding, we are excited to get started on these important projects,” said President and CEO Shane Williams.

“With a year of work under our belts at Madsen, we know what needs to be procured, built, and developed at the mine site over the next six to twelve months to achieve our goal of restarting the mine in 2025."

West Red Lake’s approach includes extensive underground drilling, with plans to drill up to 39,000 meters in 2024 to increase resource confidence and expand known resources.

The company is focused on increasing resource confidence through targeted drilling programs, aiming to enhance its geologic model ahead of its prefeasibility study.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Giann Liguid, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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