The Cordero Mine is part of the Company’s El Bagre Gold Mining Complex. Development of the Cordero mine began in September of 2020 and commercial production was achieved as of January 1, 2023. Soma’s legacy mines, La Ye and Los Mangos, have been mined out and are being decommissioned in early 2023. Going forward, Cordero will be supplying the mill feed for the El Bagre Mill and, as mine production warrants the restart of the Limon Mill. This should have a significant positive impact on gold production, as La Ye and Mangos ore has averaged ~4.5 g/t gold in recent years, while Cordero’s resources are grading 6.9 g/t and 7.9 g/t for indicated and inferred resources respectively.
The production rate of 84 thousand tonnes (kt) in 2022 is scheduled to ramp up to a peak mining production rate of 248 kt (680 tpd) in 2024. Achieving the planned peak production rate of 248 kt per annum would allow the Company to restart its previously operating El Limon Mill, with feed from Cordero in late 2023.
Based on the results of the PEA, the current Life of Mine (LOM) plan for Cordero is just over three years, ending in early 2026. However, it is anticipated that our current drill program, with both surface and underground drilling underway, will add new resources to materially extend Cordero’s mine life.
Soma has purchased its own fleet of new Sandvik underground mining equipment and is now self-performing all mining and sustaining development work.
The Cordero mine is proposed to be approximately 1,280 m on strike and 300 m deep, with veins dipping from 30 degrees to 45 degrees. The LOM plan envisions a mixture of both traditional and mechanized mining. In the central portion of the Mineral Resource area, mining will be carried out by a narrow, near vertical, non-mechanized cut and fill mining method. Production work in this area is done by teams using pneumatic handheld drilling equipment. Mechanized overhand cut and fill mining is planned for the deeper and north-south extents of the Cordero mine, using equipment owned and operated by Soma. The introduction of mechanized mining will allow Soma to materially increase production and mill throughput to warrant restarting the El Limon Mill.