Aguia Resources has announced plans for the reopening of the high-grade Santa Barbara Gold Mine in Colombia, following the acquisition of Andean Mining, the mine’s sole owner.

Spanning around 320 hectares, the Santa Barbara Project is situated at the northern end of the Serranía de San Lucas.

The takeover completion coincides with an in-house upgrade study for the mine.

Previous operations by the mine’s former owners included a pilot mining and processing initiative, which processed 500 tonnes of ore over ten months, confirming the project’s technical viability.

The six-month restart programme will see enhancements to the plant, including a capacity increase to 50 tonnes per day (tpd) and a new crushing circuit capable of processing 200–330tpd.

Additionally, the leaching capacity will be increased by 300%, complemented by the installation of a Merrill Crowe circuit and a new smelting room. Power generation will also be improved with additional generators.

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Underground operations will resume with the recommissioning of the Santa Barbara tunnel, a new adit and development at the Mariana mine.

The plan includes the installation of larger compressors and the introduction of advanced mining techniques. Infrastructure upgrades will cover accommodation, administrative facilities, roads and security.

The company added that the pilot operations have laid the groundwork for cost-effective recommissioning, with expectations of significant operating cash flow upon the mine’s reopening.

Aguia chairman Warwick Grigor said: “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.

“In addition, those who understand the style of geology and performance of high-grade veins should be able to draw their own conclusions as to the potential of the extensive Santa Barbara orebodies present across the broader project area.

“Aguia has a great opportunity before it, and we intend to prove it through operational performance with the execution of a detailed works programme in the second half of 2024. More regular updates on our progress in Colombia and our active works programme in Brasil will occur now that we have concluded the takeover.”