Canada-based gold-copper producer Orvana Minerals has announced plans to suspend mining operations at its Las Tojas gold mine in Bolivia.

The suspension will be put into place on or before the end of 2019.

Las Tojas gold mine is 100% owned through the company’s subsidiary Empresa Minera Paititi SA (EMIPA).

Orvana said that it is suspending operations due to a higher than expected ore grade operational mining dilution leading to an uneconomic unitary cost per ounce.

The company said that the earlier announced development and engineering of the oxides stockpile project that has been collected from previous mining activities at Don Mario will continue.

Orvana expects full production of the sulphidisation circuit and other ancillary facilities for the financial year 2021 to process the oxides stockpile.

Orvana CEO Juan Gavidia said: “Given the anticipated near-term transition into our Oxides Stockpile project, it is the right decision to suspend operations at Don Mario to mitigate a higher unitary cost burden onto the company.

“Subject to a favourable outcome of the analysis of the feasibility of the oxides stockpile, we are committed to funding and building the Oxides Stockpile project, which is expected to commence in early FY2021, with 33 months of expected low-cost gold and copper production.

“As for our El Valle production, we have worked very hard over the past four years to ensure that the operations are stable, and delivery of gold production remains sustainable.”

The oxides stockpile has a mineral resource estimated at 2.18Mt with an average gold grade of 1.85g/t. It contains 386,950oz of gold equivalent.

Orvana’s Orovalle mining operations increase its production in Spain

On the other hand, Orvana said that its Orovalle mining operations is a stable producer with a production of 64,327 ounces of gold and 5 million pounds of copper for the fiscal year 2019.

Located in Asturias Spain, the Orovalle mining operation includes the El Valle and the Carlés mines, and consist of a mill operation.