West African Resources says it has processed the first ore at its Sanbrado gold project in Burkina Faso, putting it on course to produce its inaugural gold product within the next month.
Construction activities have now been completed on all areas of the process plant and tailings storage facility, according to the company.
All four heavy fuel oil generators have been commissioned in the power station and are now operational, while the desorption and gold room circuits are undergoing commissioning in preparation for a maiden gold pour within the next four weeks.
Open-pit mining contractor, African Mining Services, a subsidiary of the Perenti Group, has ramped up mining activities to include both the M5 and M1 South pits, with day and night shifts starting in the past week, West African said.
Currently, over 360,000 t of oxide ore is stockpiled on the run of mine pad at an average grade of 1.5 g/t Au.
Underground development continues to progress on-schedule with mining contractor Byrnecut Offshore, a subsidiary of the Byrnecut Group, having completed the primary ventilation raisebore. The ventilation fan is also currently being installed. First development ore remains on track for late March and first stoping ore is forecast for the September quarter, the company said.
West African Executive Chairman, Richard Hyde, said: “This is a major milestone for West African Resources and testament to the quality of our team and contractors. Commissioning activities will continue over the next four weeks with the first gold pour on track for early Q2 (June quarter) 2020.”
An updated feasibility study on Sanbrado from 2019 envisaged an initial 10-year mine life, including 6.5 years of underground mining, with probable reserves of 1.7 Moz (21.6 Mt at 2.4 g/t gold). The project was expected to have average annual production over the first five years of 217,000 oz gold with all-in sustaining costs of less than $600/oz.