Modern Mining

TSX-listed Teranga Gold Corporation has reported a gold production of 64 031 ounces in the March quarter (Q1) of 2018, a 13 % increase on the figure for the equivalent period in 2017. The total cash cost was US$659/oz compared to US$722/oz in Q1 2017.

Since its initial public offering in 2010, Teranga has produced more than 1,4 million ounces of gold from its Sabodala gold mine in Senegal, which – as of June 30, 2017 – had a reserve base of 2,7 million ounces of gold. Sabodala produced a record 233 267 ounces of gold in 2017.

The Sabodala gold mine in Senegal (photo: Teranga).

Sabodala is Teranga’s only producing asset but the company is advancing its Wahgnion gold project (formerly referred to as the Banfora project) in Burkina Faso, which will rank as its second producing gold mine. The first gold pour at Wahgnion is expected by the end of 2019. The company’s project pipeline also includes the Golden Hill project in Burkina Faso.

Mining activities at Sabodala in the first quarter were focused on Kerekounda and the last production benches of Golouma South, as well as the narrow lower benches of Golouma West and Gora Phase 3. In the prior year period, mining was focused on Golouma South, the upper oxide zone at Kerekounda, as well as the lower benches of Gora Phase 2 and 3.

Total tonnes mined for the first quarter were in line with plan and were 14 % lower compared to the prior year period. Due to mining in narrower benches at or near the bottom of Gora and Golouma South pits, which required the use of smaller equipment, mine operations experienced reduced shovel productivity. In the prior year period, total tonnes mined were a company record, mainly due to higher than planned equipment availability, improved utilisation of the mining fleet and a significantly higher quantity of free-digging oxide waste.

Ore tonnes mined and ore grades were 26 %and 41 % higher, respectively, compared to the prior year period mainly due to increased tonnes and grade from the Gora deposit and the final benches of Golouma South being primarily ore. Gora will complete mining activities during the second quarter followed by closure and rehabilitation activities.

Ore tonnes milled for the first quarter were similar to the prior year period and benefited from slightly higher operating hours resulting from the timing of maintenance work in the milling circuit.

At Wahgnion, all critical long-lead equipment and key contracts have been awarded and bulk earthworks are well underway putting Teranga on track to begin concrete installation for the mill foundation later this month (May).

Wahgnion was acquired in October 2016 as part of Teranga’s acquisition of ASX-listed Gryphon Minerals. The fully permitted, high-grade, open-pit project is located in the south-west of Burkina Faso.

According to the Feasibility Study released by Teranga last year, Wahgnion will be mined by way of conventional open-pit techniques using drill and blast with material movement by hydraulic excavators and trucks. The project scale suits 110- to 140-tonne class excavators in a backhoe configuration matched to 50-tonne class mining haul trucks operating at 5-m bench heights.

The process plant will be located adjacent to the Nogbele deposit, which contains approximately 50 % of the initial reserves. The Fourkoura, Stinger and Samavogo deposits are located 6, 15, and 25 km, respectively, from the process plant. The haul trucks selected have the ability to haul ore directly to the process plant.

The process plant design is based on a conventional CIL gold process flowsheet consisting of primary crushing, SAG and ball milling, with a pebble crusher, CIL tanks, elution, electro-winning and gold smelting to produce doré onsite. Throughput is expected to range between 2,2 and 2,5 Mt/a, depending on the blend of soft and hard ore.

Wahgnion will produce 119 koz/a at an AISC of US$843/oz over a nine-year mine life.

“We have a clear vision for Teranga and that is to become a multi-asset, mid-tier gold producer in West Africa,” said Richard Young, President and CEO. “With the financings now in place to build our second mine and to move a third project through a future feasibility study, we have a well-defined roadmap for executing on our vision. Beyond the near-term priorities of Wahgnion and Golden Hill, we are also focused on advancing our extensive organic pipeline in Côte d’Ivoire for future growth.”

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