Tag Archives: Morila

PhotonAssay tech set for Western Africa debut with MSALABS agreement at Morila

Chrysos’ PhotonAssay technology is set to make a debut in the Western Africa market after Capital Ltd’s MSALABS signed a provisional five-year agreement with Societe Des Mines De Morila SA at the Morila gold mine in Mali.

The mine, which has an existing drilling contract with Capital Ltd, is 80%-owned by Firefinch. The ASX-listed company acquired the mine in November 2020 with the view to increase production at the 4.5 Mt/y mill from a current annual production profile of 40,000 oz/y of gold from tailings treatment, towards a target of 70,000-90,000 oz/y of gold through mining of small open pits, stocks and tailings from mid-2021. In 2022, Firefinch plans to increase production to 150,000-200,000 oz/y by re-commencing mining from the main Morila pit.

The contract, which remains subject to final terms and conditions, could see the first PhotonAssay arrive on site before the end of the year. This would be the first Chrysos unit to be deployed in Western Africa, according to Capital.

This news came out in the release of the company’s interim results, which outlined a 51.6% year-on-year boost in revenue to $98.7 million and a 238.6% boost in adjusted profit to $12.7 million.

MSALABS also has a PhotonAssay contract in place with Barrick Gold at the Bulyanhulu mine in Tanzania, which could see the deployment of at least six PhotonAssay units.

Capital said the initial Chrysos unit had arrived in Tanzania and was in transit to the Bulyanhulu laboratory, with commissioning anticipated imminently, with the Chrysos team now on site.

An additional Chrysos unit secured for Canada was scheduled for arrival in Val d’Or, Quebec, in the December quarter, representing an expansion of MSALABS’ presence in the country and entry into the prolific Abitibi Belt. Capital Ltd said offtake discussions are well advanced for the unit’s capacity.

Capital Ltd Executive Chairman, Jamie Boyton, said of the Photon Assay tech: “Chrysos has the potential to disrupt the geochemical analysis sector and we are encouraged by the demand we see as we prepare to roll out the second unit in Val d’Or in Quebec, Canada, in the December quarter of this year, and the third at Morila in Mali soon thereafter.”

Driven in part by increasing industry focus on safety, sustainability and sample turnaround time, Chrysos PhotonAssay is competing with the centuries-old fire assay process in the gold assaying market. Chrysos says the technology, which originated out of a CSIRO project, is fast taking over fire assay to be the preferred technology of miners and laboratories seeking a solution to the supply chain and environmental challenges created by traditional gold assaying methods.

Hitting samples with high-energy X-rays, PhotonAssay causes excitation of atomic nuclei allowing enhanced analysis of gold, silver and complementary elements in as little as two minutes, Chrysos claims. Importantly, the non-destructive process allows large samples of up to 500 g to be measured and provides a “true” bulk reading independent of the chemical or physical form of the sample.

Mota-Engil and Mali-owned IMS to tackle Morila satellites and Super Pit

Mining contractor, Mota-Engil, and Mali-owned and operated contractor, Inter-Mining Services (IMS), are to carry out open-pit mining services at the Morila gold mine in Mali, following a contract award from Firefinch Ltd.

The two companies have entered a joint venture to carry out this contract, which will see them mine the satellite pits, Viper and N’tiola, as well as phase 1 mining of the Morila Super Pit.

The contract has an estimated value of some $360 million and includes site preparation and mining operations at the Viper and N’tiola satellite pits, and the Morila Super Pit. The scope of works also includes run of mine stockpile management at the Morila plant.

Mota-Engil have over 75 years of experience operating in Africa, and a demonstrated track record of operating at the scale required to pre-strip and mine the Morila Super Pit, Firefinch said. IMS, meanwhile, has extensive experience operating in the Malian mining sector.

“The combined expertise and capability offered by the joint venture allows for operating at scale, while combining strong local knowledge and content,” Firefinch said.

Work under the JV is scheduled to commence at the satellite pit of Viper and N’tiola in August 2021, with mining at the Morila Super Pit scheduled for the March quarter of 2022.

Firefinch’s Managing Director, Dr Michael Anderson, said: “The joint venture will bring together the capability to operate at scale, and a well-established locally owned and operated business that will maximise local content. It was great to have spent time at Morila and in Bamako this month, where we executed this important milestone. We have identified a solution that brings both local content and the technical capability required to undertake our open pit mining for future years.”

Firefinch has an 80% interest in the Morila gold mine, which has produced 7.5 Moz of gold since 2000. The ASX-listed company acquired the mine in November 2020 with the view to increase production at the 4.5 Mt/y mill from a current annual production profile of 40,000 oz/y of gold from tailings treatment, towards a target of 70,000-90,000 oz/y of gold through mining of small open pits, stocks and tailings from mid-2021. In 2022, Firefinch plans to increase production to 150,000-200,000 oz/y by re-commencing mining from the main Morila pit.