LSE-listed Nordgold has announced that it has expanded its flagship Bissa mine with the launch of a heap leach operation at the nearby Bouly deposit in Burkina Faso. Bouly’s average annual production will be approximately 120 koz over a LOM of 10 years. In 2016, Bouly is expected to produce up to 20 000 ounces of gold.
The first Bouly gold pour (photo: Arnand van Heerden).
Bouly construction was completed on schedule and under budget. Nordgold started construction of the Bouly mine in July 2015 and invested US$140 million in the project (US$15 million less than initial capex guidance of US$155 million). Construction was completed in 13 months in August 2016.
In line with Nordgold’s development strategy, the project had been de-risked prior to final board approval. According to the Feasibility Study, the IRR for Bouly is approximately 40 % at a gold price of US$1 250 per oz and approximately 26 % at a gold price of US$1 100 per oz. The payback period is expected to be 30 months at a gold price of US$1 250 per oz and 42 months at a gold price of US$1 100 per oz.
Bouly is the company’s third operating asset in Burkina Faso and the second project Nordgold has developed from a greenfield stage in the country in the last six years. The launch of Bouly confirms Nordgold’s position as the second largest gold producer in the country, with total production of approximately 400 koz per year.
“Bouly is another outstanding addition to our global asset portfolio and once again highlights our ability to execute large mining projects on time and, in this case, under budget,” comments Nikolai Zelenski, Nordgold’s CEO. “Like Bissa, which we launched in 2013, Bouly is a best-in-class operation, which will not only increase overall production and efficiency at Nordgold, but will be another major economic contributor to our host country and its local community.”
Bouly is a single open pit operation. The ore is crushed with primary jaw and secondary cone crushers, followed by agglomeration before stacking on an HDPE-lined pad for irrigation with sodium cyanide leach solution. Bouly utilises mining equipment and jaw crushers similar to those in place at Bissa to standardise stock holding and optimise maintenance costs.
According to Nordgold, Bouly will benefit from low cost mining operations due to an excellent average LOM stripping ratio of 0,7 t/t and straightforward heap leach metallurgy with superior gold recovery at 83 %. Bouly has its own all-season heap leach facilities with final processing stages, including desorption, electro-winning and smelting, taking place at the Bissa processing plant.