Akobo Minerals, the Norway-based, Ethiopia-focused gold exploration and development company, has reached an agreement with the South Africa-based contract miner, IW Mining (Pty) Ltd, to operate the underground mine at Segele.
IW mining is, Akobo says, a highly experienced mining contractor with years of hard-won underground mining experience in the South African mining sector. This agreement secures the company’s access to personnel and competence for mining of the Segele gold ore according to the following timeline:
- Mining to be underway in October 2022;
- First gold extraction to begin in the March quarter of 2023;
- Full production expected to begin by the end of the June quarter.
In line with the company’s ESG guidelines, IW Mining will recruit and train a significant number of Ethiopian personnel who will work within the Segele mine.
Sourcing of mining equipment has already begun and first shipments are to be dispatched imminently. IW Mining will mobilise an experienced mining team from South Africa that will travel to Segele within weeks, Akobo says.
Jørgen Evjen, CEO of Akobo Minerals, said: “Getting IW Mining on board was the last piece of the puzzle. Together with Solo Resources for the plant production, we have now secured all necessary expertise to start mining.
“With Ian and Willem guiding us through the next phase of development I am sure we will succeed with our plans. Our companies share the same values and philosophy, delivering responsible and world class projects. “
Ian Lowers, CEO of IW Mining Services, added: “Our aim has always been to provide a level of service that exceeds the normal contractual scope of work. For IW Mining Services, this contract in Ethiopia with Akobo Minerals is an important milestone in line with our growth strategy. IW Mining Services has committed itself fully to ensuring the success of this unique project by being a responsible partner in mining innovation. Our belief is that this mining project is the beginning of a strategic multi-party partnership in Ethiopia between Akobo Minerals and IW Mining Services.”
Akobo Minerals is now ramping up activities in all areas for preparation of mining operations.
With the newly secured convertible loan and signing of Solo Resources on plant design and production in May, all tasks are on track, it says.
Solo Resources has already completed design work and the process plant is now under fabrication and deliveries of the parts will begin shortly. The final project funding is also moving forward with several positive dialogues ongoing.
The plant will be tailored to process the gold-rich Segele mine ore, which has an outlined inferred and indicated resource estimate of 69,000 oz of gold at 22.7 g/t Au. It is designed to process 10 t/h of mass, with the possibility of upgrading to 20 t/h, with current dimensions of 4,000 oz/mth of gold.