Mako gold project – construction update

Toro Gold provides an update on the construction progress of the Mako project in eastern Senegal. Following the award of a 15 year Mining Concession to Toro Gold’s 90% owned Petowal Mining Co SARL (PMC) by the Government of Senegal in July 2016, construction commenced in August 2016 on a planned 18-month development schedule with forecast capital costs of $158 million to steady state production.

Using competitive tendering, Toro Gold’s experienced owners’ team assembled a group of internationally recognised contractors to complete the development of the Mako goldmine. With a focus on health and safety of all staff at the project site, construction progress to date has been excellent with the project currently on both schedule and budget to deliver first gold during Q1 2018. In addition good progress has been made in the early identification of key members of operational staff and a number of appointments have been made to support the transition to operations in due course.

Martin Horgan, Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We are delighted to be able to provide this update on activities at our Mako project in eastern Senegal. Since receiving the mining permit in July 2016 the company has made significant progress in both the construction and operational readiness activities at site. The working partnership between Toro’s owners team and our group of experienced contractors has enabled the company to maintain both schedule and budget. With over 1,100 people currently working at site, emphasis has remained on the preferential use of local and national staff in addition to the provision of training opportunities – I am delighted to report that approximately 90% of staff at the project are Senegalese nationals. We now look forward to the critical phase of construction completion and the handover to operational staff via the commissioning period – with the operational team substantially recruited at this time the company is well prepared for this phase. The Company is fully funded to completion of the Mako project and we look forward to updating you in due course on the continued progress across the group.”

Based on the 2015 DFS and the subsequent 2016 optimisation study, the project envisages the development of a 1 Moz JORC compliant Reserve over an initial eight-year life. Mining from a single open pit and using an industry standard CIL processing facility to extract the gold, the principal facilities being developed during construction are summarised as follows:

  • 1.8 Mt/y CIL plant inclusive of crushing and grinding circuit, gold extraction circuit, gold room for doré production and cyanide detox circuit
  • Lined tailings management facility (TMF)
  • Raw water storage dam with river abstraction point
  • Office and warehouse facilities
  • 130 person accommodation camp
  • 14 MW IPP diesel fired power station and fuel farm
  • Mining Services Area (MSA) and associated explosive storage facility
  • Pre-development mining operations
  • Over 14km of access roads across the project site.

In selecting the contractors to complete both construction and operational aspects of the project, Toro Gold has sought to engage internationally reputable groups with successful track records in the development and operations of gold projects in Africa. Utilising a competitive tendering approach, the following groups have been retained:

  • Lycopodium Minerals Pty Ltd
  • Eiffage Senegal
  • SFTP SADLM Senegal
  • SGS Minerals
  • AMS Senegal S.U.A.R.L. (AMSS; its truck fleet seen arriving in the picture)
  • ATS S.A.R.L.
  • Power Solutions Africa
  • Vivo Energy
  • Knight Pièsold Consulting
  • TTI

While most of these groups have direct experience of construction and operations in Senegal, AMSS is a newly formed entity and establishes it as Senegal’s first fully integrated, international contract mining services company. The partnership between PMC and AMSS on the Mako project is not only beneficial to Toro Gold given their demonstrable track record of success across Africa, but also to the wider Senegalese mining sector as it continues to develop.