Orla Mining reported the results of the Camino Rojo Sulphide Project’s Phase 1 metallurgical program, confirming that numerous processing options could lead to a successful development. The company said it will continue to examine these options to identify which one would create the most value to its stakeholders.
Orla explained that through the resting, it has gained a greater understanding of the metallurgy present in its Zacatecas-based project. The Phase 1 program included tests on grinding features, susceptibility to cyanidation, choice of flotation and pressure oxidation. In addition, a geometallurgical model was developed, integrating historical information as well as new geological, geochemical, mineralogical and recovery data.
Highlights of the Phase 1 program include the identification of five geometallurgical zones within the 7.3Moz sulphide gold deposit and two geometallurgical zones that seem to be suitable for conventional carbon-in-leach (CIL) processing. In addition, Orla confirmed that selective flotation can be used to produce gold concentrate. What is more, zinc concentrate could potentially be produced, too.
The company noted that the metallurgical and geometallurgical data collected will be used to decide new cut-off grades and underground designs. The latter will be used in the updated sulphide mineral resource estimate that is currently under preparation and will form the basis of a preliminary economic assessment expected in late 2022.
“These metallurgical results provide options for processing the Camino Rojo sulphides. We are furthering our understanding of the deposit, the potential development pathway and the value it may generate for stakeholders,” said Jason Simpson, President and CEO, Orla Mining.
Orla also emphasized that these positive results confirm the project's potential for an independent processing plant. However, the company stressed that it will continue to analyze which is the most optimal development plan. Currenlty, the scenarios under consideration are a Camino Rojo underground mining operation with processing at a CIL and flotation facility, a Camino Rojo open pit with processing at a sulphide facility and an open pit mine with processing at Newmont Gold Corp.'s Peñasquito plant.
In an interview with MBN, Simpson said there is 9Moz of gold in sulfide form below the company's oxide pit. “This is a tremendously important way to enhance Orla’s value. However, this will require a new processing plant and this is a potential future investment in Mexico that we want to achieve. Nevertheless, this is a long-term plan. The first step is to develop the oxide project and bring it to full capacity. Then we will work to optimize it and try to find more gold. The future for Orla in Mexico is very bright.”
The company announced that this year it also plans to complete an 8,250m drilling program, which is part of the Phase 2 Sulphide Project program, to strengthen the geological model and confirm the continuity of areas with gold mineralization. The program has already started and results from 15 drill holes are expected in the second half of 2022.