Canadian gold mining junior which is in the process of ramping up production at its Aurizona mine in Brazil has suffered an armed robbery with some $2 million worth of gold stolen.
High gold prices can cause serious security problems, particularly for gold miners operating in relatively isolated areas as they can become a relatively easy target for criminals and Canada's Luna Gold, which operates the Aurizona gold mine in Brazil's Para state has become the latest gold mining company to suffer accordingly, experiencing an armed robbery yesterday. The robbers escaped with some 1,500 ounces of gold worth around $2 million at current prices. Thankfully no mine employees were reported as injured during the robbery.
In a statement Luna Gold's President & CEO, John Blake said "The safety and welfare of our employees is our highest priority and we will ensure that those involved receive appropriate support and counselling. Theft in this manner is disturbing and regrettable. The company is co-operating with authorities and will update the market when information becomes available."
Aurizona is located in Maranhao state between the cities of São Luis and Belém. The main orebody, Piaba, is a 2.9 km long orogenic gold deposit hosted in the Proterozoic Aurizona greenstone belt. The geologic setting of the project area, the São Luis Craton, is an eastern extension of the Guyana Shield which contains several other major Proterozoic gold deposits (e.g. Las Cristinas, Omai, Rosebel) extending from Venezuela to Brazil. Measured, indicated and inferred resources there are put at a little over 1.3 million ounces with an average grade of a little over 1.2 grams per tonne gold, but the area around the existing operation is highly prospective.
The mine is only in its initial stages with anticipated annual production of some 60,000 ounces a year. First gold was produced back in May from the gravity circuit with the CIL plant and grid power coming online in the third quarter and the mine is currently ramping up to full production.
The company is insured to cover this type of loss and is in the process of filing a claim, but even so it will have been a traumatic experience for those at the site and doubtless the event may lead to increased insurance premiums by Luna and other operators as the risks of such robberies are better appreciated.
The robbery is currently under investigation by Maranhao State Police.
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