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.”