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.