PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Gold miner Resolute Mining has grown the Tabakoroni underground resource, at its Sayama project in Mali, to more than one-million ounces, with studies supporting a viable mining operation.
The Tabakoroni underground deposit is estimated to host some 7.4-million tonnes of ore, grading 4.4 g/t gold for 1.04-million ounces of gold.
The company said on Wednesday that the ongoing exploration success at Tabakoroni has enabled the completion of a prefeasibility study (PFS) to assess the potential for a new underground mine to augment current gold production at the Syama operation.
The PFS demonstrated that by using existing Syama processing infrastructure, the Tabakoroni underground mine could produce some 80 000 oz/y of gold at an all-in sustaining cost of $974/oz over an initial four-year mine life, based on the current resource estimate.
The project would require an initial capital investment of $86-million, with total capital spend estimated at $118-million.
The underground operation is expected to use modified Syama oxide processing infrastructure, and would thus start following the completion of the oxide operations at Syama.
“Tabakoroni has been a highly successful Syama satellite openpit oxide mining operation for Resolute, producing approximately 400 000 oz of gold over the past three years. We expect our ongoing exploration success and feasibility studies will confirm a future underground operation at Tabakoroni,” said Resolute MD and CEO John Welborn.
“Exploration and evaluation of the Tabakoroni underground mine potential will continue during the remainder of 2020 and into 2021. The timeline on development is supported by our contemporaneous exploration efforts to define further surface oxide mineralisation.
“We now have more than 500 000 oz of oxide resources from in-ground satellite deposits and oxide ore stockpiles. Our immediate ambition is to use this oxide material, and further satellite oxide resource targets we are exploring, to maintain our Syama oxide production going forward at approximately 80 000 oz/y.”
Welborn said that the underground study provided Resolute with the confidence that the company would be able to transition the current oxide gold production to similar annual levels of production based on the Tabakoroni underground operation.