The reserves at gold miner Endeavour Mining's flagship Houndé mine, in Burkina Faso, have increased by 41% as a large portion of the Kari Pump discovery's maiden measured and indicated resource was converted to reserves.
The Kari Pump's maiden reserve is 7.3-million tonnes, at a grade of 3.01 g/t gold.
Based on a gold price of $1 250/oz, 710 000 oz of gold were converted into probable reserves out of an indicated resource base of 796 000 oz, representing a conversion ratio of 89%.
This increases the Houndé mine's proven and probable reserves to 34.8-million tonnes, at a grade of 2.19 g/t gold, for 2.45-million ounces of gold.
“We are very pleased with the maiden Kari Pump reserve announced today as we enjoyed a very high conversion rate of resources to reserves.
"Moreover, it demonstrates the value unlocked through exploration, as these high-quality ounces were discovered at a cost of less than $13.50/oz of reserve and have the potential to be produced at an all-in sustaining cost of below $800/oz," Endeavour president and CEO Sébastien de Montessus said on Tuesday.
Endeavour further pointed out that the Houndé mine would also benefit from Kari Pump’s favourable ore characteristics, with 53% of gold content located within the softer oxide and transition zones, compared with only 12% for the Houndé deposit. As the mineralisation starts at surface, it is amenable to openpit mining.
The gold miner has launched environmental studies on the discovery and plans to submit an application for a mining licence later this year, with the goal of initiating mining activities in late 2020 or early 2021, following the completion of mining at the nearby high-grade Bouere deposit.
Testwork has confirmed that the ore at Kari Pump has similar metallurgical properties to that of the Houndé deposit and the ore could possibly be processed at the existing Houndé processing plant.
Ore recoveries based on this testwork are estimated at 94% for oxide ore, 90% for transition ore, and 82% for fresh ore, averaging 88% for the deposit.
Meanwhile, the Kari Pump discovery represents only 35% of the Kari gold-in-soil anomaly and Endeavour continues with exploration at the Kari West and Kari Center discoveries.
Drill results for these two discoveries are expected to be published early in the third quarter.
This will be followed by the release of maiden resource and reserve estimates for the discoveries in the fourth quarter.