Asanko Gold Inc, listed on the TSX and NYSE MKT, has announced that its board has approved the commencement of the Phase 2A expansion at its Asanko Gold Mine (AGM) in Ghana, with Front End Engineering Design (FEED) to start immediately.
The decision follows Asanko Gold’s receipt of the ‘Environmental Invoice’ from the Ghananian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for mining operations at the Esaase deposit and the overland conveyor connecting the Esaase pit to the existing processing facility.
“Within three quarters of pouring first gold, our Phase 1 project is delivering ahead of feasibility in the key metrics of production and costs,” comments Peter Breese, Asanko Gold’s President and CEO. “The time is right to proceed with the Phase 2A expansion, which will establish mining at our Esaase pit and provide vital infrastructure between Esaase and the existing processing plant for future expansion projects.”
Phase 2A has two components to its development plan. The first is the development of an open-pit mine and the construction of mining and crushing infrastructure at Esaase and the construction of a 27 km overland conveyor belt, capable of handling ore for Phases 2A and 2B, to transport ore to the existing processing facility.
The second component involves a brownfield modification to the existing CIL process facility to increase the plant’s capacity from 3,6 Mt/a to 5 Mt/a. The upgraded processing facility will process a blend of 2 Mt/a of ore from Esaase and 3 Mt/a of ore from the Nkran pit and surrounding satellite deposits.
With Phase 2A operational, AGM will produce approximately 300 000 ounces of gold in 2018, with the ore being derived from the Nkran pit and the phase 1 satellite deposits, as well as the large Esaase pit.
Extensive metallurgical test work, undertaken at ALS laboratories in Perth, Australia, together with operational experience gained from Phase 1 to date, has confirmed that metallurgical recovery from blending the Esaase and Nkran ores will be in-line with the PFS recovery estimates of 90,9 %.
The technical and financial details of the new mine at Esaase, the conveyor belt and the plant modifications will be outlined in the Phase 2 DFS which is expected in Q4 2016. The Phase 2A capital cost is expected to be approximately US$125 million.
The second stage of the project, Phase 2B, will further expand the processing facility at Phase 1 with the construction of an additional 5 Mt/a CIL circuit for a total processing capacity of 10 Mt/a (3 Mt/a from Nkran and associated satellite pits and 7 Mt/a from Esaase) to produce approximately 450 000 ounces of gold per annum.