PERTH (miningweekly.com) – A prefeasibility study (PFS) into the Abujar gold project, in Cote d’Ivoire, has forecast that an openpit operation could produce some 200 000 oz of gold in the first year of production.
ASX-listed Tietto Minerals told shareholders that the project would produce more than 168 000 oz/y of gold over the first six year of the project, based on a maiden openpit ore reserve of 15.7-million tonnes, grading 1.7 g/t gold for 860 000 oz of contained gold.
The study estimated pre-production capital at $230-million, with sustaining capital and closure costs estimated at $32-million.
The openpit study estimated life-of-mine (LoM) revenues of $1.6-billion over a ten-year project life, a post-tax net present value (NPV) of $226-million and an internal rate of return of 42%, with a pay-back period of 2.8 years.
A study into an expanded project at Abujar, which included a core underground operation, increased the post-tax NPV to $311-million, and the internal rate of return to 43%.
The underground operation is expected to extend the project life to 12 years, with average production in the first six years remaining at 168 000 oz/y. The addition of an underground operation is expected to add a further $48.4-million in capital costs from the beginning of year six of the operations, while remaining capital and closure costs would increase to $48.1-million.
The underground operation would increase LoM revenue at Abujar to $2.4-billion, while all-in sustaining costs are expected at $903/oz.
Tietto MD Caigen Wang told shareholders that the PFS metrics were compelling and clearly suggested that the development of Abujar would transform the company into a substantial West African gold producer.
“Abujar is shaping up as a robust, long-life project based on the openpit mine development, underpinned by maiden ore reserves of 860 000 oz, with annual average gold production of more than 160 000 oz/y.
“We believe there is considerable upside to the base case prefeasibility study, with a scoping study of the openpit and underground demonstrating considerable value remains to be unlocked for our shareholders.”
Wang said that the company would use the PFS as a basis for a definitive feasibility study, and would build on the value drivers that had been identified.
“We are confident the Abujar gold project will continue to enjoy growth in both resource and reserves over the year through our continued aggressive drilling programme. We have commenced early-stage debt financing negotiations for the project and we are focused on advancing the Abujar gold project towards becoming West Africa’s next gold mine.”