May 16, 2022 – Equinox Gold Corp. (TSX: EQX, NYSE American: EQX) (“Equinox Gold” or the “Company”) announces that, as previously disclosed, permits for the scheduled tailings storage facility (“TSF”) raise at the Company’s RDM Mine in Brazil have been delayed. Equinox Gold has temporarily suspended RDM operations until this matter can be resolved.
Discussions with regulatory authorities are ongoing and the TSF raise contractor is ready to mobilize and commence work. Equinox Gold expects that full operations could restart as soon as two months from the receipt of regulatory approval, which is anticipated during Q2 2022.
Equinox Gold is withdrawing its 2022 production guidance for the RDM Mine, forecast at 70,000 to 80,000 ounces of gold or approximately 11% of consolidated production using the mid-point of Equinox Gold’s 2022 production guidance of 625,000 to 710,000 ounces of gold. Guidance will be updated when RDM has resumed operations.
The RDM TSF is raised on an intermittent basis throughout the mine life to store tailings produced from ongoing operations. The TSF has been designed and is operated to industry best practices and is regularly inspected and audited by independent parties and inspected periodically by Brazilian government regulators. A design alteration was filed with SUPRAM (State Environmental Agency – Minas Gerais) in 2017 to change from a centreline to a downstream design, which is considered the safest construction method, and since 2018 each raise has been completed using a downstream design. Permits to raise the TSF using a downstream design were granted in 2019 and 2020. In 2020, the Company requested a raise method formalization as an addendum to the license to operate, confirming the change to a downstream design, and in early 2021 SUPRAM granted the permit to raise the TSF to its current level. In 2021, the Company applied for a permit for the next TSF raise, which has not been granted to date.