Tag Archives: Côte d’Ivoire

Roxgold lays Séguéla groundwork with Metso Outotec, Lycopodium contract awards

Roxgold says it has awarded a SAG mill order for the Séguéla gold project in Côte d’Ivoire to Metso Outotec as part of its efforts to advance the project through to construction in the coming months.

The move comes ahead of the release of feasibility study on the project next month, which will build on a 2020 preliminary economic assessment (PEA) that outlined an operation capable of delivering over 100,000 oz/y of gold over eight years at average all-in sustaining costs of $749/oz. This study also incorporated a single stage primary crush/SAG milling comminution circuit with 1.25 Mt/y throughput.

At the same time as selecting Metso Outotec for the SAG mill contract, Roxgold has awarded preferred contractor status to Lycopodium Minerals Pty Ltd and is currently negotiating the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) agreement with the company for the 1.25 Mt/y carbon-in-leach processing facility and other supporting infrastructure to be constructed at Séguéla.

The fixed price agreement increases confidence in the total capital cost for the project, as it is by far the largest scope at Séguéla, Roxgold said.

“With this agreement in the final stages of negotiation and several other key scopes now tendered and priced, approximately 65% of the pre-production capital estimate has now been fixed or finalised,” the company added. “This level of detail provides increased confidence around the pre-production capital estimate, which is expected to be in-line with the previous estimate of $142 million, as outlined in the PEA.”

In terms of progressing work on long-lead time items, Roxgold said it had awarded the plant site bulk earthworks tender, with a contract expected to be executed and works commenced in the June quarter to support the project critical path.

The company has continued to advance its early works program at site including upgrading of the site access road and construction of the accommodation village. Contracts were awarded for camp bulk earthworks and camp construction, with first concrete poured last month, it said.

Surveying has been completed for the 33 kV and 90 kV power lines to tie into the existing 90 kV transmission line running across the property, which is connected to the 225 kV ring main system around the country. These early work activities will enable a rapid ramp up to full construction upon completion of the feasibility study and mine financing in the June quarter of this year.

Roxgold says it has undertaken a competitive tender process and has conducted a detailed assessment of the contract mining proposals received. It is currently completing diligence on the shortlisted parties and plans to award the mining contract later this year to allow for contractor mobilisation, site establishment,and commencement of pre-production mining early next year.

John Dorward, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “The Séguéla project has rapidly become a cornerstone asset for Roxgold, and we believe that the project will provide significant value to all our stakeholders.

“The feasibility study is on track to be announced in the second (June) quarter, which we believe will demonstrate the ongoing evolution of the Séguéla PEA with an enhanced mine life and project economics with the inclusion of the high-grade Koula deposit into the mine plan.”

RPMGlobal, Envitech to carry out environmental studies at Tietto’s Abujar project

Tietto Minerals says it has engaged key environmental specialists, including RPMGlobal, to advance work on baseline environmental, social and governance (ESG) studies on the Abujar‐Gludehi (AG) gold deposit, part of its 2.2 Moz Abujar gold project, in Côte d’Ivoire.

Tietto says it retained RPMGlobal Principal Social Specialist, Luke Stephens – who only recently joined RPMGlobal – to help develop the ESG work program.

In addition to RPMGlobal, Tietto has also engaged Côte d’Ivoire-based Envitech (the team pictured here on site) to conduct the baseline fieldwork necessary for the compilation of the environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) required to obtain environmental approval. The ESIA will identify the potential social and environmental impacts of developing Abujar and outline any proposed mitigation measures, it said.

Once the ESIA is completed, expected to be later this year, Tietto will submit it to the Ivoirian Environment Minister for review and approval as a necessary step for the issuance of the mining licence.

Tietto Managing Director, Caigen Wang, said: “The appointment of these key ESG consultants is part of our strategy to advance work on project studies necessary for the grant of a mining licence and ultimately the development of a mining operation at Abujar.

“Our ESG program will run in parallel with technical studies while drilling continues on‐site as we target delivery of an updated resource in Q3 (September quarter) 2020. This updated mineral resource, and results from a metallurgical test work program also underway, will underpin a prefeasibility study scheduled for Q1 (March quarter) 2021.”

Endeavour looks to consolidate West Africa gold sector with SEMAFO acquisition

Endeavour Mining is to acquire fellow West Africa-focused gold producer SEMAFO in a friendly, all-share deal that, Endeavour says, will create a top 15 global gold producer and the largest yellow metal miner in West Africa.

The deal, which both sets of Board of Directors have unanimously approved, values SEMAFO at C$1 billion ($694 million) and comes with a 27.2% premium based on the 20-day volume weighted average price of both companies for the period ended March 20, 2020. It would see existing Endeavour and SEMAFO shareholders hold around 70% and 30%, respectively, of the combined company on a “fully-diluted in-the-money basis”.

Such a transaction comes less than six months since SEMAFO suspended operations at its Boungou open-pit mine, in Burkina Faso, following a deadly attack on a public road in the Est region. This led to a seven-week suspension of the mine in 2019. This incident followed on the heels of a pit wall failure at its Mana mine, also in Burkina Faso, in August, that led to a 10-week suspension.

Endeavour, meanwhile, had its hopes of merging with fellow Africa gold producer, Centamin, dashed earlier this year after Endeavour President & CEO, Sebastien de Montessus, said the quality of information received during the accelerated due diligence process had been insufficient to allow the company to be confident in proceeding with a “firm offer” for Centamin.

On a pro-forma basis, a combined Endeavour and SEMAFO would have more than 1 Moz of gold production in 2020 (based on current company guidance), placing it among the top 15 gold producers globally, while all-in sustaining costs (AISC) would be below $900/oz, placing it within the bottom third of the industry cost curve, the companies said.

Assets would include the Ity, Houndé, Agbaou and Karma mines from Endeavour (which produced 651,000 oz at an AISC of $818/oz in 2019) and the Boungou and Mana mines from SEMAFO (which produced 340,900 oz at an AISC of $724/oz in 2019).

Endeavour-SEMAFO would also have 10.5 Moz of reserves and 20.7 Moz of measure and indicated resources (inclusive of reserves), plus an additional 6.3 Moz of inferred resources.

It would be strategically positioned as the largest gold producer in both Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, which account for two-thirds of the highly prospective West African Birimian Greenstone Belt, they said.

It would also consolidate the Houndé belt in Burkina Faso to create a “world-class mining district with two mines, exploration upside and strong future development potential”, they said.

Endeavour said influential investor La Mancha will continue to be a highly supportive cornerstone shareholder, committing to invest $100 million, although decreasing its overall stake from around 31% in Endeavour to about 25% in the combined entity (calculated on a pro-forma basis using current share prices), to “provide for a larger free float and greater stock liquidity”.

These M&A discussions have been going on for some time, according to Endeavour.

In early 2019, both companies engaged in a mutual dialogue in order to evaluate the merits of a business combination. The dialogue included extensive mutual due diligence as well as discussion of potential terms of a transaction, with a final proposal in May 2019. At that time, it was not possible to agree on terms which appropriately shared the risks and rewards of a combination.

In early 2020, discussions between Endeavour and SEMAFO recommenced. Endeavour’s management team completed on-site due diligence at SEMAFO’s operations in Burkina Faso during February 2020, including a comprehensive assessment of security, operations and exploration.

Both companies also re-opened data rooms for mutual confirmatory due diligence, including visits and, following collaborative discussions, confirmed their shared strategic vision and desire to complete a combination subject to negotiation of agreeable terms, they said. Negotiations proceeded, culminating in agreement on the terms of the transaction announced today.

For Endeavour, pursuant to the rules of the TSX, the transaction will require approval by a simple majority of the votes cast by its shareholders. In addition, shareholders of Endeavour will be asked to approve the issuance of Endeavour ordinary shares to La Mancha. For SEMAFO, meanwhile, the transaction will require the approval of 66.6% of votes cast by its shareholders.

It is anticipated that both shareholder meetings and the closing of the transaction will take place in the June quarter of 2020.

Africa first for Gekko’s Carbon Scout technology

Gekko Systems says Endeavour Mining’s Ity gold operation, in Cote d’Ivoire, has become the first mine in Africa to install a Gekko Carbon Scout.

The self-contained Carbon Scout device collects slurry samples from carbon-in-pulp (CIP) and carbon-in-leach (CIL) tanks to determine the distribution of the activated carbon in the pulp for each tank, to an accuracy of ± 0.5 grams of carbon per litre of pulp, according to Gekko.

Gekko, following a collaboration agreement signed with Curtin University for the development and commercialisation of a cutting-edge carbon management technology, went commercial with the technology in 2017. At that point, the company said the product promised to quickly become critical for gold process plant optimisation and for minimising soluble gold losses on tails.

By advancing the accuracy, regularity and consistency of sampling, the self-contained, ground-level unit will improve measurements in CIL and CIP circuits, Gekko said, adding that the Carbon Scout will also greatly improve the safety of operations by reducing operator exposure to cyanide and other hazards.

As recently as November, Endeavour announced it had completed a planned CIL plant expansion at Ity, upping capacity from 4 Mt/y to 5 Mt/y. This followed the commissioning of the 4 Mt/y plant in April 2019.

Capital Drilling bolsters Bonikro gold mine operation with new equipment

Capital Drilling says it has commissioned new equipment to supplement Allied Gold’s existing mining fleet at the Bonikro gold mine, in Côte d’Ivoire, with the two companies currently in the process of implementing an interim mine plan at the operation.

The London-listed company was awarded the mining services contract – the company’s first – back in October 2019.

In Capital Drilling’s December quarter review, it said it had further established personnel and equipment to support the contract over this period and, in December, had commissioned three dozers (Cat D9Rs), one grader and one excavator, together with four production rigs (blast hole and grade control) at the operation.

It said 2020 contract revenues, while being subject to finalisation, were now expected to be around $15 million across the range of site services at Bonikro, compared with the $25-$30 million previously outlined.

The interim mine plan at Bonikro was scheduled to last until December 2020, but a long-term mine plan is expected to be completed in the September quarter, it said. This would allow the company to transition to a “Schedule of Rates contract”.

Bonikro commenced production in 2008 and was previously operated by Newcrest, prior to the sale of its majority interest to a consortium of F&M Gold Resources and the Africa Finance Corp, in December 2017, and the recent acquisition by Allied. It has historically produced over 1 Moz of gold.

On top of this news, Capital Drilling said, in its December quarter, revenue jumped 4.8% quarter-on-quarter to $30.7 million, while its cash flow generation had risen to $4.4 million at the end of the year, compared with $2.5 million at the end of the September quarter. This jump in cash came despite ongoing growth capital expenditure during the three-month period.

The company’s fleet utilisation also rose over the quarter to 59%, compared with 52% in the previous quarter. This is the equal highest utilisation level in four years for the group, driven by new contract start-ups, with most of the new work commencing in West Africa, it said.

Capital expected to spend $20 million on capex in 2020. This follows the addition of eight new rigs and mining equipment in 2019, of which four rigs are due for commissioning this quarter.

EPSA to carry out mining at Perseus’ Yaouré gold mine

Development of Perseus Mining’s third gold mine, Yaouré, in Côte d’Ivoire, is ramping up with the award of a mining services contract to EPSA Internacional SA.

The announcement comes shortly after Australia- and Canada-listed Perseus signed the mining convention for the $265 million project.

EPSA, a privately-owned, global earthmoving and mining contractor headquartered in Spain, provides a range of mining, civil works and earthmoving services to a bluechip list of mining clients located in 15 countries, according to Perseus. The company employs around 4,000 and has nearly 1,600 pieces of equipment available for deployment.

The mining services contract will run for a period of 65 months commencing on November 1, 2020, and envisages the movement of approximately 170 Mt of material, including 27 Mt of ore containing more than 1.5 Moz of gold, Perseus said.

EPSA is expected to commence mobilising equipment to site in the March 2020 quarter, after which it will employ and train a predominantly Ivorian workforce in preparation for the formal commencement of the contract later in the year, according to Perseus.

Perseus’s Managing Director and CEO, Jeff Quartermaine said the company was “delighted” to be working with EPSA, “an international mining company of true substance, whose client list currently includes major gold mining companies such as Newmont Goldcorp, Agnico Eagle and Yamana Gold”.

To win this contract, EPSA competed in a highly competitive tender process involving eight very good mining contractors, according to Quartermaine.

“As well as offering a competitive price, EPSA currently has equipment available for immediate mobilisation and has a proven track record of establishing greenfield mining sites in jurisdictions where employment and training of personnel from local catchment communities is a priority.”

When Yaouré is fully operational, Perseus will be producing in excess of 500,000 oz/y, Quartermaine said, adding that the average all-in site cost of producing gold at Yaouré over the first five years of the mine is forecast to be $734/oz.

Capital Drilling expands into heavy mining equipment services sector

Capital Drilling says it has signed binding agreements with Allied Gold Corp for the provision of a full range of mining services to its Bonikro gold mine in Côte d’Ivoire.

Additionally, Capital Drilling has made a strategic investment of $3 million in Allied.

The contract represents the company’s first comprehensive mining services contract win, with Capital Drilling now able to provide load and haul services to its clients in addition to its existing drilling, maintenance and mineral analytic capabilities.

Bonikro is a producing gold mine in Côte d’Ivoire which commenced production in 2008 and was previously operated by Newcrest, prior to the sale of its majority interest to a consortium of F&M Gold Resources and the Africa Finance Corp, in December 2017, and the recent acquisition by Allied. It has historically produced over 1 Moz of gold. With existing in-pit resources of 1.17 Moz of gold, Allied expects to produce approximately 120,000 oz of gold in the coming 12 months, Capital Drilling said.

Under the agreements, which are in addition to the previously announced exploration drilling contract, Capital Drilling will provide a full range of mining services at Bonikro including drill and blast, load and haul, grade control dewatering.

Capital Drilling commenced a phased management oversight at the Bonikro site in July 2019 with a small team of personnel, followed by an expanded team in September.

The company recently attained management control of mining operations and is working closely with Allied’s management to refine the Bonikro mine plan, it said. “Once the mine plan has been confirmed, the parties intend that the agreements will transition in the first half of 2020 to a comprehensive schedule of rates contract, primarily linked to tonnes mined and moved (schedule of rates contract).

Subject to the agreement of the schedule of rates contract, it is intended that the initial term of the contract will be five years, with contract revenues subject to the confirmation of mine plans and the terms of the schedule of rates contract. It is anticipated that revenue for 2020 will be in the range of $25-$30 million, with activity primarily focussed on the existing Hiré pits before ramping up over the life of the contract.

The contract will initially utilise five production rigs (blast hole and grade control), including two from Capital Drilling’s existing fleet. Furthermore, Capital Drilling will assume management control of Bonikro’s heavy mining equipment (HME) fleet including 16 mining dump trucks, four mining shovels and other associated mining equipment, “providing the group with a unique opportunity to enter into a contract of this nature with modest immediate capital requirements”.

Capital Drilling says it has committed to supplement the existing HME fleet with additional equipment at its own cost, including one excavator, three bulldozers and auxiliary equipment to ensure that the contracted material movement is achieved.

“Together with the three new blast hole rigs to be acquired, near term capital commitments are expected to total approximately $8 million, apportioned between the drilling fleet ($4 million) and the ancillary earth moving equipment ($4 million).

Under the agreements, Capital Drilling assumes full responsibility for the on-going upkeep and maintenance of the HME fleet and will assess longer term capital requirements as the contract progresses, the company said.

Commenting on the contract win and strategic investment, Jamie Boyton, Executive Chairman of Capital Drilling, said: “We are excited to embark on this new phase for Capital Drilling and to commence our first comprehensive mining services contract. Load and haul operations are a natural extension to our existing world-class drilling and maintenance capabilities. It means we can now offer clients a completely integrated mining service from initial exploration drilling right through to extraction and delivery of ore to the mill. We will draw on the extensive experience of our team to successfully incorporate and deliver this new service.

“It is also pleasing to add another long-term contract to our existing portfolio of long term, mine-site based projects. Further to this, our strategic investment into Allied represents a transformational opportunity for Capital Drilling. It expands our revenue sources into less cyclical mine-site based activities, while being aligned to our growth strategy of building a superior portfolio of long-term contracts.

“Allied’s pipeline also presents substantial growth opportunities and we look forward to working closely with the company to deliver incremental operational and productivity improvements at the Bonikro site. We anticipate this strategic investment, together with the addition of load and haul services, will provide further long-term growth opportunities with projects in the production phase and greater revenue and earnings sustainability in the future.”

GeoDrill backs IronRidge Africa exploration plan with ‘drilling for equity program’

IronRidge Resources has entered a binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with GeoDrill as part of a “drilling for equity program” of up to $4 million, or 40,000m of drilling at the exploration company’s gold and lithium portfolio throughout Africa.

GeoDrill, established in 1998, is a leading exploration drilling company with a fleet of 67 drill rigs that has operations is Ghana, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Zambia.

The MoU will see IronRidge advance all projects across Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Chad, while maintaining cash resources, it said.

IronRidge’s Chief Executive Officer, Vincent Mascolo, said: “We are delighted to announce that the agreement with GeoDrill secures access to expert drilling capabilities, which will allow the company to effectively advance its portfolios, whilst helping preserve cash resources.

GeoDrill brings decades of operational expertise throughout West Africa and, with operational centres in both Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, provides excellent synergies with the Ccmpany’s current jurisdictions of focus.”

Dave Harper, Chief Executive Officer of GeoDrill, said: “Having previously worked with IronRidge on their Cape Coast lithium project and Côte d’Ivoire gold projects, we understand their exploration business model and it was an easy decision for us to partner with IronRidge in this drilling for equity program.”

Under the terms of the binding MoU, any drilling services provided by GeoDrill will be paid by either; cash, shares, or a combination of cash and shares on a 50/50 basis at IronRidge’s election.

The agreement is based on a competitive quotation process, which provides for the issue of ordinary shares in IronRidge for 50% of the drilling cost up to a value of $4 million in two $2 million stages.

“The agreed payment mechanism comprises a share valuation of 90% of the 15-day volume weighted average price against the value of each monthly invoice,” IronRidge said.

Geodrill has commenced drilling works in Ghana where approximately 13,200 m of drilling has been planned at the Cape Coast lithium project over a staged reverse circulation and diamond drilling program dependent on results. It is also currently continuing field mapping and sampling programs over the Zaranou gold project, in Côte d’Ivoire, ahead of a planned air-core drill program.

In Côte d’Ivoire, IronRidge is assessing air-core results over its Bianouan and Bodite licences to determine the next steps as well as soils and trenching results over its Kineta and Marahui licences.

“At this stage the company will maintain its focus on the Côte d’Ivoire gold portfolio and the Ghana lithium portfolio,” IronRidge said.

West Africa investments about to pay off for Capital Drilling

Capital Drilling’s push into West Africa will start paying off in the second half of the year, according to Executive Chairman, Jamie Boyton, with the contractor having sealed a number of drilling agreements in the region in the opening six months of 2019.

The company has progressively invested more resources in West Africa over the past few years, aiming to capture market share in a region where gold exploration is high.

The company recorded revenue of $54.7 million over the six-month period, a 0.4% year-on-year increase, while its average revenue per operating rig dropped to $183,000, compared with $200,000 in the first half of 2018, primarily due to new contract mobilisations. The group maintained guidance on anticipated revenues for the current financial year of $110-120 million, with revenue expected to increase in the second half of this year.

During the period, the company purchased an additional blasthole rig for the long-term contract at Centamin’s Sukari gold mine, in Egypt, as part of the group’s ongoing fleet management; made further progress in the establishment of its West Africa operations, with drilling commencing in Burkina Faso with Golden Rim Resources in May; and was awarded its first drilling contract in Nigeria with Thor Explorations Ltd, with drilling scheduled to commence in the December quarter.

The company also, in these six months, appointed Jodie North as Chief Operating Officer, increased business development resources, appointing Chris Hall to position of Business Development Manager, West Africa, maintained its ongoing rig improvement program and achieved a number of safety records at the likes of Sukari, North Mara (Tanzania), Geita (Tanzania), Tasiast (Mauritania) and Syama (Mali).

Boyton said: “The first half of the year was focused on further consolidating Capital Drilling’s presence in the highly active West African market, with a number of new contracts awarded, which will contribute to group revenues from the end of Q3 (September quarter). This strong push into this region has seen the commencement of our first drilling contract in Burkina Faso during Q2.

“Today we have also announced our expansion into Nigeria from Q4 (December quarter), a mineral rich, yet poorly explored country with significant potential, where we already operate a successful mineral analytics laboratory. Pleasingly, our major operations have also continued to achieve significant safety milestones throughout the first half.”

New contracts awarded during the first six months include:

  • Compass Gold Corp (Sikasso, Mali, pictured). Awarded a 10,000m exploration drilling contract, using one reverse circulation (RC) and one diamond rig from the existing fleet. Drilling commenced in June;
  • Golden Rim Resources (Kouri, Burkina Faso) (previously announced). Awarded a 20,000m exploration drilling contract using one multi-purpose rig from the existing fleet. Drilling commenced in May;
  • Allied Gold Corp (Bonikro, Côte d’Ivoire). Awarded a five-year exploration drilling contract, using one diamond rig and one RC rig from the existing fleet. Drilling is scheduled to commence in December quarter;
  • Thor Explorations Ltd (Segilola, Nigeria). Awarded a five-year exploration and grade control contract, using one RC rig from the existing fleet. This will transition to grade control in 2020, with exploration drilling scheduled to commence in the December quarter and grade control in H1 2020;
  • Kinross Gold Corp: (Tasiast, Mauritania): MSALABs was awarded a three-year onsite laboratory services contract with Kinross at the Tasiast gold mine. Operations commenced in July 2019, and;
  • Resolute Mining Ltd (Syama, Mali). Awarded one-year extension of the long-term underground grade control drilling contract using two underground rigs from the existing fleet. Contract extended to June 2020.

Endeavour Mining pours first gold from Ity CIL project in Côte d’Ivoire

Endeavour Mining Corp says it has poured first gold from the Ity CIL project in Côte d’Ivoire, ahead of schedule and under budget.

The first pour yielded around 1,800 oz of gold, while some 135,160 t of ore has been processed since being first introduced into the CIL processing plant on February 20.

The initial estimated budget was $412 million, with first gold pour coming four months ahead of the previous schedule.

Endeavour said commercial production was expected to be declared early in the June quarter with performance trial testing soon to commence, as the crushing, milling and CIL circuits have quickly attained a stable nameplate capacity of 4 Mt/y.

Following the performance tests already conducted, Endeavour launched optimisation and de-bottlenecking work which is expected to increase the plant nameplate capacity by 1 Mt/y to 5 Mt/y, at a minimal cost of $10-15 million.

The volumetric upsize work mainly comprises an upgrade in pipes and pumps, and a second 50-t oxygen plant with no additional mining fleet required. “These plant upgrades are expected to be completed during scheduled plant maintenance shut-downs throughout the next six months,” the company said.

Sébastien de Montessus, President and CEO, said: “As we approach commercial production, I would like to acknowledge the hard work of our in-house construction team for successfully delivering the Ity CIL project ahead of schedule and under-budget, with an exceptional safety record of over 8.5 million hours without a lost time injury.

“This first gold pour and the remarkably quick ramp-up period is a transformational event for Endeavour as the Ity CIL project will quickly contribute to group’s cash generation potential.

“Given its current 15-year mine life and strong exploration potential, our ability to increase the plant size by 1 Mt/y to 5 Mt/y for minimal additional capex represents a very compelling investment and is in line with our focus on capital allocation efficiency and return on capital employed criteria. With this upgrade, Ity has the potential to produce circa 300,000 oz of gold per annum at a low all-in sustaining cost (AISC).”

The Ity CIL project capex spend is tracking under-budget compared to the initial guidance of $412 million.

“As construction is tracking ahead of schedule and below budget, Endeavour decided to conduct additional works such as the construction of a fuel farm, building exploration facilities, and an additional $7 million of crop compensation and resettlement related to prospective exploration grounds,” Endeavour said. “Due to these additional works, and the $10-15 million required for the above-stated plant upgrade to 5 Mt/y, the total project capex spend is expected to amount to circa-$420 million.”

An $11 million exploration programme totalling around 71,000 m of drilling has been planned for 2019, with the aim of delineating additional resources at the Le Plaque target, and testing other targets such as Floleu, Daapleu SW and Samuel.

As previously guided, Ity is expected to produce 160,000-200,000 oz in 2019 at an AISC of $525-590/oz, with the bottom-end of production guidance corresponding to the 4 Mt/y nameplate capacity while the top-end factors in upsides such as an earlier start date, an expedited ramp-up and the plant producing above its nameplate.