Australian, Africa-focused gold miner West African Resources last month announced that its Sanbrado gold project in Burkina Faso had poured its first gold.
Said gold bars weighed 23.9 kg and, following the processing of 75 000 t of ore grading 1.5 g/t since the project’s start, the plant temporarily increased its nameplate capacity.
“This is a major milestone for West African Resources and marks the beginning of a new phase in the company’s story. To successfully transition from an exploration company to a gold producer is without doubt a great achievement for all involved,” says chairperson Richard Hyde.
Construction and commissioning activities have been completed in all areas and the project has recently passed three-million hours free of a lost-time injury. Moreover, the processing plant and power station remain fully operational and no process interruptions are expected.
Additionally, the company’s openpit operations have ramped up mining activities at both the M5 and M1 South pits, with ongoing double day and night shifts. Currently there are 250 000 t of oxide ore on the run-of-mine pad averaging a grade of 1.5 g/t, which reconciles well with West African’s grade control models.
The company states that underground development continues to progress as scheduled. “The first development crosscut on the 2120 level, which is 300 m below surface, has intercepted visible gold north of the mine plan. About 1 200 t of underground ore has been mined and stockpiled ready for processing.”
The company notes that, as of early February, it has been following the Western Australia Health Department guidelines for the Covid-19 pandemic and has been updating staff and contractors regularly as the situation unfolds. At the time of writing, no staff or contractors had tested positive for Covid-19, nor had there been a suspected case.
West African Resources’ executive and site management have recently undertaken a Covid-19 risk assessment workshop at Sanbrado. The site management team included key people that worked through the Ebola crisis in Guinea in 2014 to 2015. The company notes that its medical staff are monitoring the temperature of all people entering site and will implement a self-isolation policy for anyone suspected of being Covid-19 positive.
Additionally, site management has prepared an isolation block for any suspected cases as well as allocating qualified medical personnel and sufficient supplies to deal with the Covid-19 situation.
From an operational perspective, the site has all key reagents and consumables on site for continuous gold production for the next three to six months. Moreover, the newly commissioned fuel farm has been receiving regular fuel deliveries from fuel supplier Oryx Burkina Faso and it is expected that it will be filled to capacity by mid-March.