There’s a feeling here at Orinoco Gold that’s very similar to first-time parenthood.
As we prepared for our maiden gold pour, we were thinking of that first gold bar as our first-born.
The gold pour marks the point at which Orinoco Gold passes from being an explorer and mine developer and to being a gold producer.
And it certainly looks to be an opportune time to join the ranks of global gold producers.
Given the high exploration potential of our property in Brazil’s Goias state and the returning optimism in the gold sector, we believe we can make Orinoco a meaningful mid-tier high-grade gold producer over time.
The infrastructure we’ve built at Cascavel will be critical to this.
We kicked off the commissioning process of the gravity processing plant back in June, starting the “dry commissioning” (pre-operational testing). The first step was to check that all key mechanical and electrical components were operating according to design specifications, and that there were no significant issues.
Next came the “wet commissioning,” which means testing and initial operation with fluids and with load, earlier this month. We started off running a 5,000-tonne stockpile of low-grade commissioning material through the plant, which we are running through the circuit while the plant is optimised, balanced tuned and then stabilised.
Next, we process batches of production ore from the Cascavel stopes as we ramp-up the commissioning process before starting production build-up.
This involves running the plant for longer shifts to process the production ore before pouring that first bar, which we did at the start of August.
It’s a very exciting time for all of us.
While all of this was happening on the operational front, we bedded down a $4.5 million institutional share placement to strengthen our balance sheet in the lead-up to production.
The placement also allows us to begin planning for the rapid expansion of the production profile of Cascavel.
The placement was heavily oversubscribed and saw several new Australian institutions join our share register. Our US funding partner, Cartesian (with which we have a forward gold sales agreement) also participated in an emphatic show of confidence in Orinoco’s progress.
We now have about $7 million in the bank (post raise) and a strong working capital buffer in place as we move into commercial gold production.
We’ve identified extensions to the main Cascavel gold system, which are accessible from the existing underground infrastructure, and we also intend to investigate parallel outcropping gold lode structures that we’ve found.
We’re also keen to start bulk sampling at the Cuca prospect, which sits 350 metres north of Cascavel, ahead of possible mining there.
But all of that can wait.
It’s first things first and for us. The beautiful sight of Cascavel’s first gold bar glinting in the sunlight has us as proud as first-time parents.