Diversified gold producer Nordgold has completed a significant investment programme at its Guinea-based Lefa mine.
Capital expenditure in 2018, which was designed to both improve efficiencies at Lefa, while also extending its life-of-mine (LoM), increased to more than $70-million, from $48-million in 2017.
Since acquiring the Lefa mine in 2010, Nordgold has invested almost $1-billion in Guinea through providing direct employment, as well as local health and education services, including support in the fight against Ebola, and the creation of new medical facilities and about 40 schools.
Nordgold intends to increase its investment in Guinea by 15% year-on-year to about $80-million this year.
According to Lefa mine acting GM Alejandro Rodriguez, the company remains committed to Guinea and to driving performance at the Lefa mine.
Commenting on the investment programme, he added that it would put the company “in the best position to maximise the value of this major asset”.
Alongside the company’s investment into equipment and facilities, Nordgold reaffirmed its support for the local communities, adding that the investment into staff development programmes, education and health facilities, would bring major benefits to the area.
“Lefa is an important asset and Nordgold will continue to invest in exploration to extend its LoM and to sustain the current production level,” Rodriguez noted.
INVESTMENT PROGRAMME DETAILS
Touching on health, safety and the environment, Nordgold on Monday said it had made further improvements to safety and working conditions at Lefa, including the purchase of a second fire engine and additional firefighting equipment.
Nordgold has also continued to invest in employee development and, in addition to wage increases for all workers, the company provides training programmes to over 600 employees. There has also been an upgrade to both office and on-site leisure facilities, with construction ongoing and expected to be completed before the end of this year.
Lefa intends to extend its employee development programme through offering vocational training courses to more than 1 000 employees this year.
In terms of mining and exploration, based on Lefa’s increased ore mined volumes in 2018, Nordgold will focus Lefa’s mining activities on delivering ore from four pits, as well as on-site waste stripping at two pits to ensure delivery of quality ore this year.
Road access to the recently discovered Kassa Kassa mining area has been completed and will serve as a new satellite pit, the company said.
During 2018, two major construction programmes were completed, comprising the Lero Karta river diversion relocation to its final position and various upgrade design specifications having been undertaken.
Lefa continued to operate successfully throughout a heavy rain season in 2018 and upgrades to the tailings dam embankments were also completed for Kankarta and Carrefour walls.
Additionally, Nordgold highlighted on Monday that there has also been investment in upgrading the mining fleet. A new excavator, together with a fleet of trucks were commissioned in 2018 and as part of the mining fleet replacement programme, a new excavator and five new trucks were commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2018, with three more trucks delivered in the first quarter of this year.
The new Mining Convention and Renewal of Mining Permit were granted by the authorities to the Lefa mine in August 2018 pursuant to the promulgation of relevant decrees. The new permit is effective from March 21 and is extended for 15 years, in line with Lefa’s current mine life.
Meanwhile, additional investment was made into upgrading the Lefa processing facilities in 2018, through which the processing plant throughput was increased by 2% by recommissioning the pebble crusher with significant engineering modifications to the mill circuit.
The processing plant’s gold recovery section also saw significant improvements, including the installation of a separate reagents wash column and elution column, an 800 electro-winning cell, cascade barring furnace and the replacement of the pre-soak tank and elution heaters, Nordgold said.
The Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) 1 extension was completed in 2018 with an additional operating capacity expected to be sufficient until 2021.
The TSF 2 feasibility study has started and will be completed in 2020.