"With US$508 million left to spend on the Media Luna project south of the river, we have a strong, cash-producing asset at ELG that is financing the construction of our future."
Can you discuss Torex’s performance in 2023?
At El Limón Guajes (ELG) we crossed 10 million hours worked without a lost time injury for the third time since 2020. In September, we celebrated the production of 3 million oz since beginning production and achieved annual production guidance for the fifth consecutive year, supported by record mining and milling rates that exceeded 13,000 t/day. The Mexican peso was strong, which impacted production costs; however, our balance sheet remains very healthy. With US$508 million left to spend on the Media Luna project south of the river, we have a strong, cash-producing asset at ELG that is financing the construction of our future.
Media Luna is tracking well to our schedule and capex plan. At the end of Q3, Media Luna was 50% complete, and we were 70% committed in terms of spending. We made excellent progress in 2023 de-risking the project; for example, in November we secured the final permit required for the operational phase of the project, allowing us to deposit slurry tailings into the depleted Guajes Pit. Breakthrough of the Guajes Tunnel took place in December, three months ahead of schedule, and first concentrate production is still expected in Q4 of 2024. The maiden reserve on Media Luna showed 3.3 million oz in reserve, extending the mine life until 2033; however, the magnetic anomaly has only been a third drilled off, so we expect to be there far into the future.
How will copper play into Torex’s strategy going forward?
Copper represents approximately 20% of the forecast life of mine revenue, with the percentage increasing as Media Luna ramps up. We expect to produce 45 million lb/y of copper concentrate.
What is Torex's stance on Mexico's regulations and the creation of new international standards?
I believe the spirit of the new mining reforms is well intended. With respect to mining concessions, I understand that the government has a concern with mining concessions that sit claimed and idle rather than developed, tying up the country's mineral assets without generating tax revenue, national wealth, or jobs. I also believe the government is well intended in measures to ensure companies have the financial means to cover closure obligations, to consult with communities and Indigenous peoples, and to address water usage in water-scarce areas.
In terms of international standards, the issue is that there are just too many of them. I am encouraged by recent efforts by the World Gold Council, ICMM, the Mining Association of Canada and Copper Mark to consolidate a single standard for mining companies that provides assurance that the mining industry is holding itself to a high standard when it comes to responsible mining.
How does Torex develop culture?
We want to build a culture where people come to work and willingly give the best they have. For example, our crews at the Guajes Tunnel are developing at a rate of 8 m per day; they are a group committed to a goal, who understand its significance to the business, and show up every shift to willingly give their best.
Why is it important for women to lead mining companies?
I often think of the adage ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’. Women occupying leadership roles creates a sense of “I can do that too” for other women, opening the aperture for them to strive towards unexplored possibilities. Women typically have collaborative leadership styles; gone are the days of the ‘command and control’ style of leadership and in the complexity of the world today, collaboration is necessary. We need to attract more women into the mining sector – and not just traditional roles like communications or HR.
What are Torex’s priorities going forward?
Our top priority is to bring Media Luna online safely, with commercial production by Q1 2025. ELG and Media Luna form our overall Morelos property, and we want to continue to optimize and extend the life of that asset through strategic mine plans and an aggressive drilling program so that Morelos continues to be our flagship asset that can be used as a platform for growth through intelligent M&A. We endeavor to keep our balance sheet in excellent condition. Finally, we are looking to retain the talent we have and attract new talent to support us as we grow in Mexico and beyond.