PERTH (miningweekly.com) – An optimisation study has identified a low-cost, heap leach start-up for developer Gryphon Minerals’ Banfora gold project, in Burkina Faso.
Initial estimates have placed a $208-million development cost on the Banfora project, with production targeted at around 150 000 oz/y at full production.
However, Gryphon said on Tuesday that a two-million-tonne-a-year heap leach development would require a capital investment of $79-million and would deliver about 71 000 oz/y of gold, over a life-of-mine of 8.7 years.
The heap leach option would have a net present value of $154-million, discounted at 5%, and an internal rate of return of 39%.
Gryphon MD Steve Parsons said that the heap leach operation could also be upscaled with either additional heap leach or carbon-in-leach (CIL) capacity for low capital requirements, at a later stage.
“The results show that the Banfora gold project is resilient in a low gold price environment and has robust economics from either heap leach or CIL development options.
“We are extremely excited about the heap leach potential due to its considerably lower and manageable capital requirement, low operating costs, resilience in a lower gold price environment and significant net present value and internal rate of return.”
Parsons added that the heap leach route would give Gryphon leverage to any potential increase in the gold price by easy and low-cost expandability.
Gryphon was now progressing financing arrangements as well as the completion of feasibility studies and mine permitting, which would allow for a clear path towards development.
First production at Banfora had been targeted for early 2015.