Tag Archives: Côte d’Ivoire

Fortuna Silver Mines readies for mid-2023 gold pour at Séguéla

The initial mining fleet has arrived at Fortuna Silver Mines’ Séguéla gold project in Côte d’Ivoire, ahead of planned commissioning in the June quarter, the company has confirmed.

The overall project is approximately 90% complete as of the end of January and remains on-track and on-budget for first gold pour in mid-2023, the company said.

Among the initial fleet are Cat haul trucks, an excavator, dozer and other ancillary equipment. The company says the next tranche of mining equipment is on-schedule for late-February availability. This includes a Cat 6020B 230 ton (224 t) hydraulic excavator, which is delivered and being assembled on-site; four Cat 777E haul trucks being assembled in Abidjan; one 50 ton excavator for rock-breaker, which has a hammer already on-site; one Cat D9 dozer; and two Cat 988 wheel loaders for crusher feed.

Mota-Engil, the mining contractor, has established its temporary facilities on site to support initial mining activities with construction of the permanent mining services area infrastructure progressing well.

With the completion of construction rapidly approaching, operational readiness has increasingly become the focus in preparation for commissioning of the 3,750 t/d processing plant, which is due to commence early in the June quarter of 2023. As a result of the dedicated efforts of the Séguéla management and site teams, the project is well positioned for this transition, which also represents a significant milestone for the company, it said.

David Whittle, Chief Operating Officer – West Africa, said: “Construction activities are nearing completion despite worldwide supply chain challenges. We are pleased to report commissioning remains on schedule for Q2 (June quarter) 2023. Our operational teams are being assembled with an experienced core leadership group already hired and preparing for first gold production. This will mark a significant milestone for Fortuna with Séguéla also exhibiting growth potential given the quantity of inferred resources and the exploration success on the property to date.”

Séguéla has a nine year mine life in reserves, with the initial six years expected to report 133,000 oz/y of gold production.

Mota-Engil seals Endeavour Mining Lafigué gold project contract

Portugal-based contract mining firm Mota-Engil says its Africa subsidiary has signed a mining contract for the Lafigué project in Côte d’Ivoire worth some $600 million.

Lafigué is in the north-central part of the country, some 500 km from Abidjan, within the northern end of the Oumé-Fetekro greenstone belt.

Endeavour launched construction ofn its 80%-owned project in October, following completion of a definitive feasibility study that outlined a project able to produce approximately 200,000 oz/y at an all-in sustaining cost of $871/oz over its initial 12.8-year mine life. This featured a six-stage open-pit mine amenable to conventional open-pit, drill and blast mining.

Mining is due to occur in 10-m benches, with double batters to achieve the final 20-m bench heights. Ore mining will occur in three to four flitches, selectively using smaller loading equipment in order to decrease dilution. The study detailed that diesel excavators and trucks will be used for loading and haulage, with a fleet comprising 400-t-class face shovels to load 180-t capacity dump trucks for waste mining, and 200-t-class excavators to load 180-t capacity dump trucks for ore mining.

First gold production is expected early in the September quarter of 2024.

The mining services to be carried out by Mota-Engil under the contract includes mine development, pit dewatering, free digging, drilling, blasting, loading and hauling of ore and waste, it says.

The works are scheduled to start in December 2023 and will have a duration of 60 months.

Endeavour Mining launches construction of Lafigué gold project

Endeavour Mining has launched the construction of its 80%-owned Lafigué project on the Fetekro property in Côte d’Ivoire, following completion of a definitive feasibility study that outlined a project able to produce approximately 200,000 oz/y at an all-in sustaining cost of $871/oz over its initial 12.8-year mine life.

Based on the DFS recommendation, an upsized 4 Mt/y carbon-in-leach (CIL) plant capacity has been selected to process the ore from the Lafigué deposit, which will be a six-stage open-pit mine.

The Lafigué deposit is a near surface orebody amenable to conventional open-pit, drill and blast mining, which will be carried out by contractors, Endeavour says.

Mining will occur in 10-m benches, with double batters to achieve the final 20-m bench heights. Ore mining will occur in three to four flitches, selectively using smaller loading equipment in order to decrease dilution.

Diesel excavators and trucks will be used for loading and haulage, with a fleet comprising 400-t-class face shovels to load 180-t capacity dump trucks for waste mining, and 200-t-class excavators to load 180-t capacity dump trucks for ore mining.

Ore will be processed via the 4 M/y processing plant based on only a fresh ore feed. Over the life of mine, the plant will be fed with 94.2% fresh ore and 5.8% oxide and transitional ore with the proportion of oxide and transitional ore remaining below 30% at any time.

A two-stage crushing followed by high-pressure grinding roll (HPGR) and ball milling circuit is planned. A primary jaw crusher will crush ore to a coarse crush size, followed by secondary cone crusher to produce an intermediate crushed product where 80% passes 25 mm. This will feed to a crushed ore stockpile that feeds the HPGR circuit. Ore will then be passed through a conventional ball mill and milled to 80% passing 106 μm.

The milled ore will pass through a gravity circuit for separation and recovery of coarse free gold, to produce a gravity concentrate for cyanidation and electrowinning that can be smelted to produce gold doré. High gravity recovery of approximately 70% is estimated for fresh ore at Lafigué. The remaining milled ore will be screened and passed to a CIL circuit containing one pre-leach tank and six CIL tanks in series for leaching and adsorption. Leach residence time will be approximately 36 hours.

Following leaching and adsorption gold will be recovered from activated carbon by elution, electrowinning and gold smelting to produce gold doré.

Extensive and representative metallurgical testwork has indicated that gold is free milling with very high gravity and leach extraction potential, with a projected gold recovery rate of 95% over the life of mine.

Lafigué construction is underway with first gold production expected early in the September quarter of 2024.

Sebastien de Montessus, President and CEO, said: “We are ideally positioned to launch the construction of Lafigué, given our net cash position, the continued strong performance of our operations, and our success in de-risking the Sabadola-Massawa Expansion with a significant portion of the capital already committed on-budget. Moreover, we are seeing reduced inflationary pressures and favourable foreign exchange rates compared to earlier in the year.”

Patrick Bouisset, Executive Vice President Exploration and Growth, said: “The Lafigué discovery is a great example of how we can create significant value. For a modest exploration investment of $31 million, which represents a discovery cost of $12/oz, we have added a new cornerstone asset to our portfolio. To continue to source our projects organically, we have increased our greenfield exploration efforts, which, over recent months, have resulted in significant success at our Tanda-Iguela property in Côte d’Ivoire, where we expect to publish a maiden resource later this year.”

SGS to support Côte d’Ivoire mining industry with new geochemistry lab

SGS has opened a new geochemistry laboratory in Yamoussoukra, Côte d’Ivoire, as it looks to support a growing local mining industry.

Ivory Coast has huge untapped resources, with estimates that two-thirds of the country is covered in untapped mineral deposits, SGS said. Gold remains one of Ivory Coast’s most valuable mineral resources, with output rising significantly in the previous decade, from 12 t in 2011 to 25 t in 2017 and around 32.5 t in 2019.

To support the country’s growing gold mining industry, SGS has opened a new commercial laboratory in Yamoussoukro. The laboratory, equipped with atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) and fire assay equipment, provides, SGS says, an extensive range of services related to sample preparation and fire assay analytical testing.

Services include:

  • Au by fire assay with AAS finishing;
  • Au by fire assay with gravimetric finishing;
  • Au by screen fire assay with AAS finishing;
  • Au in carbon by aqua-regia digestion with AAS finishing;
  • Bullion analyses with gravimetric finishing;
  • Other base metals by aqua-regia digestion with AAS finishing;
  • Au in solution by AAS;
  • Specific gravity by gravimetric finishing;
  • Bulk density with paraffin wax by displacement; and
  • Physical tests: pH.

Strategically located in central Ivory Coast, the Yamoussoukro laboratory is close to key mining exploration sites. SGS employees are on hand seven days a week, supporting discoveries for greenfield as well as brownfield projects by providing full fire assay analyses with quick turnaround times, the company said.

Aurelien Nguessan, Laboratory Manager, said: “SGS can now offer mining exploration companies in Ivory Coast complete support, going above and beyond our existing sample preparation capabilities. It’s an exciting time for the industry – and for the country as a whole.”

This new laboratory will complement the services already offered by SGS’ commercial geochemistry labs in the region, including those in Tarkwa (Ghana), Bamako (Mali) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).

NRW’s METS business takes flight with Primero’s latest contract awards

The first build own operate (BOO) contract initiatives, and the first major engineering, procurement, site support and commissioning contract in West Africa are some of the highlights from Primero Group’s latest contract awards.

The company, acquired by NRW Holdings earlier this year, has recently been awarded new contracts totalling circa-A$155 million ($114 million) with key clients. It has also progressed strategic initiatives that provide further strength to the group offering within the newly formed Minerals, Energy and Technology (METS) business under the NRW Holdings banner, NRW said. RCR Mining Technologies and DIAB Engineering also feature under the METS business.

“These include the award of the group’s BOO contract initiatives crystalising the strategic direction deployed by the group to enter the market of ownership and operation of processing infrastructure,” it said. “The equipment is designed, fabricated and constructed internally utilising the METS division companies and focuses on enabling the infrastructure to be relocatable, in alignment with other material handling products already being offered by the group.”

Primero has been awarded two key contracts with Mt Gibson Iron. The first is for the upgrade of the Koolan Island crushing circuit under an engineering and construction contract off the coast of Western Australia. The second is a two-year fixed crushing contract at the Shine development project in the Mid-West region of Western Australia under a BOO arrangement, with an option to extend.

Also, in the iron ore space and Western Australia, Primero has been awarded a four-year contract for crushing services at Atlas Iron’s proposed Miralga Creek operation in the Pilbara region. The contract provides crushing services for 2 Mt/y under a BOO scenario and will commence in early 2022.

In West Africa, meanwhile, Primero has secured its first major engineering, procurement, site support and commissioning contract for the Abujar gold project in Côte d’Ivoire, owned by Tietto Minerals. “The project award demonstrates the groups continuing growth and maturity in minerals processing engineering execution and diversity in capability across multiple commodities in the group,” NRW said.

The project is at a 3.5 Mt/y throughput scale with most of the contract revenue to be recognised in NRW’s 2022 financial year.

Back in Western Australia, meanwhile, Primero has been awarded the Mt Holland water supply pipeline construction contract from Covalent Lithium. The project follows on from the design services that Primero was awarded in October 2020 and completed including detailed construction planning and methodology for the 130 km pipeline and associated pumping facilities.

Site construction works have commenced, and the project is scheduled for completion in the March quarter of 2022.

As an updated note, Primero confirms the previously announced letter of intent with Panoramic Resources for the contract operations of the Savannah Nickel project has been finalised into a binding contract with a term of three years, as per Panoramic announcement dated April 6, 2021.

Work has already commenced in the preparation and operational readiness for the recommencement of the concentrator operations in-line with the announced restart plan of the mine in the September quarter with first shipments planned in December.

NRW CEO, Jules Pemberton, said: “The ongoing development of the METS pillar of the NRW Holdings Group is continuing to provide further success and market penetration within key client groups in our sector. Primero, as the newest addition to that group, has added significant capability and these recent contract awards showcase the diversity, capability and the expanding capacity of the group across multiple commodities and services.”

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.