KALGOORLIE (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed West African Resources has released a feasibility study for its Kiaka gold project, in Burkina Faso, telling delegates at the Diggers and Dealers conference that it is aiming for first production in 2025.
The feasibility study estimates that the project will require a capital investment of $430-million, producing an average of 233 000 oz/y of gold in the first five years of its operation, and 219 000 oz/y over the remaining 18.5-year mine life.
The study has estimated a pre-tax free cash flow of $2.4-billion, a post-tax net present value of $856-million and an internal rate of return of 21% at a gold price of $1 750/t.
West African CEO and executive chairperson Richard Hyde told delegates at Diggers and Dealers that the company was looking to fund the project through a combination of cash flow from its existing Sanbrado operation and debt facilities.
“We have started that process, and we are confident that we will get a lot of interest in debt funding,” Hyde said.
The company is expected to shortlist lenders by the end of the third quarter of this year and appoint lenders before the end of 2022.
Hyde noted that early works at Kiaka had already started, including access roads, with the company expected to start major construction works at the start of 2023, allowing gold production to start in 2025.
West African acquired a 90% interest in the Kiaka project from B2Gold in 2021 in a $100-million deal. The project is some 45 km from West African’s existing Sanbrado operation, which Hyde said could offer some synergies.
“It was a cracking deal for us. The asset had a lot of competition in the B2 portfolio and it wasn’t getting the attention that it deserved. We have really pushed hard in the last six months to get the feasibility completed, and we will continue to push to get the project into production,” Hyde said.
The project, which has a 7.7-million-ounce resource has a granted 20-year mining lease, and West African Resources is in the midst of updating the environmental and social impact assessments.