Gold producer optimistic about West African exploration

An image of activities at the Ity Mine in Côte d’Ivoire

ITY MINE Endeavour recently announced an increase in measured and indicated resources at the Ity

27th January 2023

By: Nadine James

Features Deputy Editor


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Gold producer Endeavour Mining intends to capitalise on its “unmatched competitive advantage” of holding one of the largest land packages in West Africa, and its strategic foothold in two of the region's most prospective belts, the Houndé and the Ity belts.

“We are very excited about West Africa. Alongside being the biggest gold-producing region in the world in 2021, it is the world’s most prospective and fastest-growing gold-producing region.”

The miner notes that West Africa’s gold production has increased by over 80% over the last decade and added 79-million ounces to the global supply during that period. “It now accounts for around 14% of global supply. It is also the leading region for global gold discoveries, with 67-million ounces discovered over the past decade.”

However, the region remains significantly underexplored, with Endeavour reporting that, while 60% of the Birimian greenstone belt – which includes the Houndé and Ity belts – lies in Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire, both countries only account for about 30% of total production across the region, owing to a lack of exploration.

Consequently, Endeavour has an ambitious exploration target of discovering between 15-million and 20-million ounces over the five years ending in 2025. The current target builds on the 11.5-million ounces it discovered in the prior five-year period, all at a discovery cost of less than $25/oz for indicated resources.

Greenfield Discoveries

Endeavour last year announced a major greenfield discovery at its Assafou deposit on the Tanda-Iguela property in Côte d’Ivoire – a maiden indicated resource of 1.1-million ounces with 14.9-million tons at a grade of 2.33 g/t, and an inferred resource of 1.9-million ounces, with 32.9-million tons at a grade of 1.80 g/t.

“The indicated resource is based on detailed drilling along only 20% of the mineralised system, which extends over three kilometres.

“Assafou is a high-quality discovery and one of the most significant discoveries made in West Africa over the last decade, with a discovery cost of less than $10/oz.Given the size of this maiden resource and the additional potential along the mineralised trend, we believe it has strong potential to become another of our flagship assets.”

The miner notes that an aggressive drilling delineation campaign is planned for 2023 over the Assafou target, with at least 50 000 m of drilling planned to convert existing inferred resources to indicated status.

Meanwhile, Endeavour completed the definitive feasibility study for Lafigué last year, which confirmed the project’s potential to become a flagship asset.

“We have since started construction of the four-million-ton-a-year carbon-in-leach plant, which is expected to produce on average 203 000 oz/y at the low all-in sustaining cost of $871/oz for its initial 13-year life-of-mine and is expected to start production in the third quarter (Q3) of 2024.”

Endeavour notes that initial works are progressing well, and the project remains on track and within budget with over 12% of the initial capital committed. Initial works mainly relate to site roads, which are over 50% complete; process plant earthworks, which are 15% complete, and detailed engineering which is 18% complete. The construction camp is being erected and the airstrip has been completed.

The tailings storage facility and process plant construction activities are scheduled to start in Q1 of 2023, with the process plant commissioning expected in the first half of 2024 and the first gold pour expected in Q3 of 2024.

“Most recently, we announced an increase in measured and indicated resources at the Ity mine, in Cote d’Ivoire, by 17% to 5.2-million ounces, representing good progress towards our 2025 discovery target of 3.5-million to 4.5-million ounces of indicated resources for the site at a discovery cost of less than $17/oz.

Similarly, Endeavour’s Houndé mine, in Burkina Faso, has a target of discovering three- to four-million ounces of indicated resources by 2025 at a discovery cost of less than $19/oz.” Houndé would become a standalone +10-million-ounce deposit, with anticipated production above 250 000 oz/y.

At its Senegal-based Sabodala-Massawa complex, Endeavour has identified and delineated more than 15 potential targets within 30 km of the Sabodala plant during an exploration review. “We have, therefore, established a target to discover between 2.3-million and 2.7-million ounces of indicated resources at a discovery cost of less than $26/oz by 2025.”

The target at the Boungou mine, in Burkina Faso, is to discover up to 1.5-million ounces of indicated resources at a discovery cost of less than $32/oz over the next five years, doubling the current resource estimate. Endeavour's primary objective is to extend the mine's life by more than ten years.

Elsewhere, Endeavour has conducted an exhaustive review of its Mana site, Faso, and sees considerable additional opportunity remaining. It has, therefore, set the five- year discovery target for Mana at about 1.5- million ounces of indicated resources at a discovery cost of less than $30/oz.

“Regarding our current development and construction projects, our exploration programme at the Bantou property, is well under way."

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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