Avesoro Resources says it is expecting a “material improvement” in grade and production at its Youga gold mine, in Burkina Faso, after implementing mining and grade control recommendations from consultant CSA Global to stem an output drop that saw production fall 19% quarter-on-quarter in the three months ending June 30.
The mine’s output was affected not only by falling grades in the June quarter, but also a stoppage in mining activities during June, which followed a transition to contractor mining.
In the three-month period, total material movement was 4.44 Mt, 7% lower than the previous quarter. Waste mined also dropped 6% in this period to 4.23 Mt, while ore mined decreased 27% to 214,000 t, resulting in a waste to ore stripping ratio of 19.8:1.
Avesoro said: “During the period, mining focused predominantly on the Gassore pit adjacent to the Youga process plant, where mined grades continued to be below forecast. Following a review of both grade control and mining practices, undertaken by CSA Global, the company made the decision to bolster its on-site technical team by hiring of additional technical staff to manage mining production and grade control.”
Serhan Umurhan, CEO of Avesoro, said he was confident the company would see a “material improvement in the situation as a result”.
Due to the temporary stoppage in mining activities in June, some emergency low-grade ore stockpiles were blended into the plant feed during June, reducing overall June quarter run of mill grade to 1.59 g/t Au, a quarter-on-quarter reduction of 23%. An increase in plant throughput of 4% to 332,000 t during the period helped to offset the grade impact, however gold production fell 19% to 15,516 oz.
Avesoro’s New Liberty gold mine, in Liberia, meanwhile saw production drop 27% to 18,822 oz in the quarter.
The company put this down to a number of staff in the mining and heavy mining equipment maintenance teams resigning during April, which led to a drop in mining productivity during this month and early May. Total material movement dropped, which had a knock-on effect to mine ore grade and mill feed grade.
Despite the company only recording 34,338 oz of gold production from the two mines in the quarter – bringing first half output to 79,435 oz – Avesoro reiterated its revised production guidance of 180,000-200,000 oz of gold for 2019.
Umurhan said: “With the operational aspects of the transition to contractor mining at both Youga and New Liberty now in place, I am confident that the challenges experienced during Q2 (June quarter) have been overcome and that total material movement and gold production will increase in the second half of the year.”