Modern Mining

TSX-listed Endeavour Mining Corporation reports that excellent progress continues to be made at its Houndé gold project in Burkina Faso, as wet commissioning has commenced and the first ore has been introduced to the process plant milling circuit in preparation for production.

Construction is progressing ahead of schedule, with over 97 % of the total project complete and on-budget, with the first gold pour expected ahead of schedule in the first half of the fourth quarter.

Wet commissioning underway at HoundéAerial view of the Houndé plant (photo: Endeavour).

Comments Jeremy Langford, Endeavour’s COO: “We are very proud of the progress made in the recent months in spite of the challenges presented by exceptionally heavy rainfall this past wet-season. Construction remains on budget and ahead of schedule as we rapidly approach the first gold pour without a lost time injury.

“Moreover, we believe that we have significantly de-risked its start-up with three months’ worth of ore feed already stockpiled on the ROM and the transition of the experienced Agbaou processing team to Houndé. This confidence has allowed us to continue to aggressively advance Endeavour’s high-quality project pipeline with a portion of the Houndé construction team already transitioning to the Ity CIL project and the launch of the Kalana updated feasibility study.”

Key milestones achieved to date include 6,3 million man-hours worked without a lost time injury.

Open pit mining activities at the main Vindaloo open pit commenced in late December 2016 with over 8 Mt moved to-date. A total of 515 kt at 2,8 g/t containing 46 koz has already been mined and stockpiled on the ROM pad, representing nearly three-months of feed. Mining to-date suggests positive grade reconciliation against the resource model, says Endeavour.

The General Manager of Endeavour’s Agbaou mine and the majority of its processing team, which successfully ramped-up the mill in 2014, have been transferred to Houndé to de-risk its start-up as the plants are of similar design.

The construction of the fuel farm, the 90 kV overhead power line and the 26 MW backup power station have been completed, with power having been drawn down from the national grid.

The construction of the water harvest dam decant tower is complete, with water already being pumped to the water storage dam. Current dam volume is approximately 2 million m3, with the water harvesting still feeding the water storage dam.

The TSF Cell 1 construction is complete and operational and the TSF Cell 2 construction and ROM pad extension are underway. Cell 2 was not scheduled until year 2 of operations but has now been brought forward.

Once in production, Houndé will become Endeavour’s flagship low-cost mine, ranking amongst West Africa’s top tier cash generating mines, with an average annual production of 190 000 ounces at an All-In Sustaining Cost (AISC) of US$709/oz over an initial 10-year mine life based on reserves. In its first four years, the average annual production is expected to be 235 000 ounces at an AISC of US$610/oz.

The project – on which construction began in April last year – is an open-pit mine with a 3,0 Mt/a gravity circuit/Carbon-In-Leach plant. The initial capital cost is estimated at US$328 million, inclusive of US$46 million for the owner-mining fleet.

Endeavour has positioned itself as a major pure West-African multi-operation gold mining company, operating five mines across Côte d’Ivoire (Agbaou and Ity), Burkina Faso (Karma), Mali (Tabakoto), and Ghana (Nzema). In 2017, it expects to produce between 500 koz and 530 koz at an AISC of US$855 to US$900/oz, following the full-year deconsolidation of the discontinued Nzema mine.

The development of the Houndé and Ity CIL projects is expected to lift Endeavour’s group production to +900 koz/a and decrease its average AISC to circa US$800/oz by 2019, while exploration aims to extend all mine lives to +10 years.

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