Modern Mining: Featured News

TSX-listed Teranga Gold Corporation has announced an updated mineral resource estimate for its Wahgnion gold development project in Burkina Faso, now in the early stages of construction. The new resource represents a 33 % increase from the 1,8 million contained ounces of gold previously announced in the feasibility study released in September last year.

Based on drill results from a 73 000‑m infill drill programme completed in 2017, the updated combined measured and indicated mineral resource is now 50,5 Mt at a grade of 1,51 g/t for 2,4 million contained ounces of gold. Teranga expects to release an updated mineral reserve estimate and related NI 43‑101 technical report for Wahgnion in the third quarter of 2018.

                         A drill site at Wahgnion.

“Based on these excellent results, we are targeting a conversion rate of more than 50 % of these additional 600 000 ounces of mineral resources into reserves, exceeding our guidance range of between 175 000 and 350 000 ounces of gold,” says Richard Young, Teranga’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “With financing in place and major construction advancing, we are on our way to building a mid-tier gold producer in West Africa.”

Wahgnion, which will be the company’s second mine (its first is the Sabodala gold mine in Senegal), is expected to increase Teranga’s annualised production by 50 % to between 300 000 and 350 000 ounces. The first gold pour is expected by the end of 2019. 

“The 2017 drill programme and subsequent resource modelling has identified areas within the reserve deposits for a future follow-up drill programme, providing an opportunity to further increase reserves. In addition, we will continue to focus on a number of highly prospective exploration targets within trucking distance of the plant in order to further extend Wahgnion’s mine life. Ultimately, we think Wahgnion has the potential to have a mine life in the 15 to 20 year range as we continue to develop these targets,” said Paul Chawrun, Chief Operating Officer.

Construction at Wahgnion is on track. The plant design is complete and detailed engineering is on schedule to support site construction. Major construction of the processing facility – with Lycopodium as the EPCM contractor –  is underway, with structural concrete of the leach circuit and mill foundations having commenced in May. The development of site infrastructure is also moving forward on schedule: the water harvest dam is complete, permanent camp facilities are near completion and preparation of the mine services area, site access roads and tailings management facility are progressing well. 

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, Wahgnion will be mined – on an owner-operated model – 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. Mining operations will emulate the Sabodala mine, with multiple near-surface pits feeding the processing plant.

The process plant – which is modelled on the Sabodala facility – 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 plant. This is expected to reduce re-handling costs and minimise waste movement through optimised pit designs for the near-surface orebodies.

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 on site. Throughput is expected to range between 2,2 and 2,5 Mt/a, depending on the blend of soft and hard ore. The average predicted plant recovery is 92 %, with soft material recoveries from some zones reaching as high as 95 %.

The tailings storage facility (TSF) will be developed as a high-density polyethylene geomembrane-lined paddock type facility in a two-cell arrangement. The TSF embankments will be constructed in annual raises to suit storage requirements, using downstream raise construction methods.

Wahgnion will produce 131 koz/a in its initial 5,5 years at an AISC of US$807/oz and 119 koz/a at an AISC of US$843/oz over the nine-year mine life. The pre-production capex is US$232 million.

According to Teranga, transport and logistics for mining projects in the region are well-established with 11 mines having been built in Burkina Faso within the past decade.

Beyond the initial four deposits included in the feasibility study, there are over a dozen other priority targets in Teranga’s regional land package.

Photos courtesy of Teranga

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