In September, it hired two big hitters. Dr Bira De Oliveira became chief operating officer, while Dennis Logan became finance chief.
And in the summer, Mathew Wilson was named chief executive, replacing Basil Botha, who remained as chairman.
Lots of experience..
Chief operating officer Oliveira has over 35 years' of operational experience in Latin America and West Africa in base metals and gold mines, which should help as the group reconfigures its Independencia mine gold processing plant ahead of production.
"Production has been challenging but given his experience in operating gold mines, we feel confident that Mr. De Oliveira is the right person to overcome these obstacles," the firm said last month.
In May, Botha had said the plan was for the firm to produce 300 ounces of gold per month - initially processing 85,000 tonnes of previously mined material grading around 0.84 grams per tonne.
Because it’s already been mined, costs per ounce of production are likely to be low. Exactly how low won’t become clear until the plant has been running for some time. But certain signs are there.
“Much of the material runs at 99% pure gold,” Botha had said. By that, he means it’s free gold which only needs gravity to separate it from the surrounding ore, rather than chemical processing, which in turn means that as long as the Latin team balances its gravity circuits right, all that’s needed now is the application of a little power and a little water.
And for the rest of the material, there’s a plan for that too.
“Anything that comes through the gravity circuits goes on to the cyanide leach, where we pick up our concentrate, melt it and come up with ingots.”
Not quite pure gold...
It’s not quite pure gold that Latin American will end up producing, but it’s close enough that a serious buyer in Miami has signed on the dotted line and agreed to take product at a slight discount.
“We will ship them 87% gold with a little bit of silver,” says Botha. “There’s no copper, so no contaminant.”
With that little operation and the cash that will come in as a result of it, Latin American will be free to look up and around for other opportunities.
First, there’s the plethora of tailings dumps in the wider region. Conceivably these could provide material for the Independencia plant for the foreseeable future, in turn providing cash flow to support the second ongoing opportunity – exploration.
What about Paso Yobai..?
In fact, the exploration around the Paso Yobai gold project is the real prize, and where grades have certainly been encouraging.
In August the firm said it had sunk seven shallow holes into the northwest end of the Discovery Trend - the Temi Zone - at Paso Yobai.
"It is very exciting that we see the same nature of mineralization nearly 2km away from previous high grade drilling results,” Paul Sarjeant, now vice president of exploration, had said.
The firm has now begun the first ever deep drilling program at Paso Yobai - testing large geophysical anomalies underneath the Discovery zone.
After testing these targets the company is planning to move its fully owned drill rig to the Cresta and Ycua Pora targets on the X-Mile trend.