An exploration programme at gold miner Endeavour Mining’s Ity gold mine, in Côte d’Ivoire, has resulted in the successful delineation of 750 000 oz of measured and indicated resources, lifting the mine’s resources to over five-million ounces at a grade of 1.62 g/t.
Since the beginning of the year, a total of 51 181 m of drilling was completed at Ity, mainly within a 20 km radius from the processing plant.
The exploration programme mostly focused on extending resources at several near-mine deposits, including Walter-Bakatouo, West Flotouo, Delta Extension at Le Plaque and Yopleu-Legaleu, delineating potential deposit extensions at Colline Sud, and on assessing the potential of new greenfield targets including Gbampleu and Delta South East.
In addition to the delineated resources, drilling conducted this year also confirmed mineralisation at extensions of several known orebodies and at new targets – including Bakatouo extension, West Flotouo, Walter and Ity-Ity Flat – which will form the basis for the 2023 drilling programme, which is aimed at delineating further resources. The area, which is 7 km long and 3 km wide, hosts 2.8-million ounces of gold at 1.81 g/t.
Exploration and growth executive VP Patrick Bouisset says the resource additions to Ity are the culmination of several years of exploration efforts. “We first discovered the Bakatouo deposit in late 2016, which was soon followed by exploration successes at the Walter and Ity Flat deposits and the West Flotouo discovery.”
Currently, he says, Endeavour has successfully proven that all seven of the previously-thought independent deposits located around the Ity intrusive are in fact a continuous mineralised system.
President and CEO Sebastien de Montessus says Ity mine, since its construction in 2019, now ranks among the highest-quality operations in West Africa owing to its low-cost production profile and long mine life.
In terms of operations, Ity is on track to beat its full-year production guidance of between 255 000 oz and 270 000 oz, and its all-inclusive sustaining cost guidance of between $850/oz and $900/oz.
“This status has been underpinned by our significant exploration success at Ity, which has led to a more than doubling of the resource base since its feasibility study was published in 2016, coupled with a strong operating performance,” he says.
As such, all three of Endeavour’s flagship assets – Sabodala-Massawa, Houndé and Ity – boast measured and indicated resources above five-million ounces, each. These assets also have remaining exploration to be done – an activity that forms an integral part of the miner’s capital allocation strategy.
Going forward, De Montessus says Endeavour continues to see significant exploration potential at Ity as the company remains on track to achieve its objective of discovering between 3.5-million and 4.5-million ounces of indicated resources over the 2021 to 2025 period. Of this, nearly two-million ounces has already been discovered.
“At a group level, we are pleased to also be on track to discovering between 15-million ounces and 20-million ounces of indicated resources over the same period,” he says.
Bouisset notes that, in addition to the resource delineated, the benefit of Ity’s discovery is the creation of a unique resource model which is expected to greatly improve Endeavour’s mine planning capabilities.
“Following the work this year to prove mineralised continuity of known orebodies and to identify mineralisation at new targets, we believe that we are well-positioned for continued success in 2023 as we look to delineate further resources.
“In addition to discoveries made in both the near-mill area and in the Le Plaque area, we are very excited about the discovery made at Gbampleu where several high-grade and thick lenses of mineralisation were identified,” he adds.