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Miner soars past hurdles, aims to expand in 2023

GROWTH AHEAD By the end of 2023, Asante will have a processing capacity of 7.6-million tonnes a year

FIRST GOLD-POUR Asante successfully completed its first gold-pour ahead of its timeline

3rd March 2023

By: Nadine Ramdass

Creamer Media Writer

     

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The refurbished Bibiani mine along with the Chirano mine, located in the north-western region of Ghana, are ahead of their respective timelines and expect to extend their life-of-mine (LoM) to more than ten years.

Gold production, exploration and development company Asante Gold Corporation expects to be a million-ounce producer by 2028 and is on track to achieve that objective, says Asante CEO Dave Anthony.

Asante ended 2022 with more than 100 000 oz poured in the last four months, which were the first months of production for the company. This track record provides a solid foundation for Asante going into 2023. The company will continue to explore “aggressively” and work towards extending the LoM on both properties.

The company is also studying the feasibility of various underground mining methods at Bibiani to transition to a combined openpit plus underground operation next year. This will increase the profile of Asante from 400 000 oz in 2023 to more than 550 000 oz by 2026.

“When we take a look at what we have achieved up to this point, we expect to continue that progress and look towards consolidation, perhaps with another mining asset in 2023 or 2024,” says Anthony.

The Bibiani mine announced on July 7, 2022, that its first gold-pour was completed successfully ahead of its planned timeline.

Anthony credits the achievement to the company’s being realistic in terms of the mine’s scheduling and planning. Asante put together a comprehensive project execution plan, ensured it had appropriate resources in place and made timely initiatives.

He elaborates that, when confronted by challenges, owing to equipment delays or shipping issues, Asante addressed such challenges immediately and constructively, particularly with suppliers, to ensure mutually beneficial solutions.

“We dealt with many challenges and it's fair to say we were successful in dealing with all of those,” enthuses Anthony.

For Bibiani’s refurbishment, Asante refurbished all its motors, gear drives and lubrication systems. It also replaced 40% of the mine’s piping, 35% of its electric wiring and 40% of its structural steel was repaired or replaced. The control system was completely replaced while the gravity recovery plant was completely updated.

Asante completed the refurbishment programme in a timely fashion because Ghana is so well equipped, both in terms of infrastructure and skills.

“When we told people that we were going to do this refurbishment in nine or ten months, they thought we were being unrealistic. History has shown that we did exactly what we said we would,” adds Anthony.

Asante’s work with efficient, highly skilled partners and employees ensured that there were not any significant delays for the project, and that high-quality work was done in a cost-effective and time-efficient way.

Owing to Ghana’s long history of modern mining and modern operation of large processing plants, Asante easily found and partnered with well-established local companies.

Anthony says these companies have quality operators and are certified by government agency Minerals Commission of Ghana.

Asante’s principal partner at Bibiani throughout the refurbishment was fabrication, engineering and hydraulic service specialists Harlequin International (HIT), along with other local partners.

“They perform at a high level, are really easy to work with as an owner as well as with one another. The Bibiani process plant has outperformed since the day we lit it up and it continues to do so. I'm very proud of how HIT and our operations team have delivered results,” says Anthony.

Chirano

Throughout last year, Asante performed due diligence across three different sites in Ghana and chose to acquire the Chirano mine.

Anthony says Asante saw that the mine was fully compliant with all laws and the standards of international financial institution International Finance Corporation.

Chirano is a mature mine, located south of Bibiani. Asante owns 53 km of the Chirano and Bibiani shear zones, enabling Asante to have significant leverage from an exploration standpoint.

Owing to connectivity between the two mines, Asante can mobilise resources between the two sites to the company’s benefit.

The processing capacity at Chirano is being expanded to four-million tonnes a year and the processing capacity at Bibiani is being expanded to 3.6-million tonnes a year.

Anthony forecasts that, by the end of 2023, Asante will have a processing capacity of 7.6-million tonnes a year.

“We thought that getting both mines to a ten-year LoM or beyond would be a challenge, but actually it has come about very quickly.”

Asante has a knowledge base that is well suited to explore the entire 53 km of land that the company owns, owing to its experience with Chirano and Bibiani.

The company has already had exploration success with developments such as Grasshopper, Russel South, Aboduabo and along the entire Chirano property.

“We have been exploring the Aboduabo resource aggressively. The results to date have exceeded our expectations and we believe this will become a world-class deposit,” Anthony concludes.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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