Resource estimates, scoping study results bolster Sanbrado underground development plans

13th December 2023

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online


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ASX-listed gold mining company West African Resources (WAF) has released positive resource estimation results and scoping studies concerning a potential underground development beneath the M5 South openpit at its Sanbrado gold mining operation, in Burkina Faso. 

The results reveal a maiden underground mineral resource estimate of 2.4-million tonnes at 3.8 g/t gold, amounting to 289 000 oz of gold. 

The completed underground scoping study highlights an average yearly production of more than 35 000 oz/y over a five-year study life. 

Further, an increase in Sanbrado gold production is anticipated, reaching up to 25 000 oz/y. Mining operations are optimised to use the same fleet as M1 South. 

WAF has indicated the potential to extend the underground life-of-mine (LoM) with an exploration target beneath the underground resource area. This ranges from a lower case of about two-million tonnes at 3 g/t gold for 225 000 oz to an upper case of about three-million tonnes at 4.5 g/t gold for 425 000 oz.   

The resource remains open at depth, with the potential to optimise infill and extensional drilling from M1 South access drive. 

"The resource . . . is currently only constrained by the depth of drilling. Repeat high-grade shoots occur to the northeast that require further exploration. Scoping studies have outlined the potential for an initial five-year underground mine life at M5 South, producing an average of 35 000 oz/y of gold.  

“M5 South underground material is expected to displace up to 400 000 t of lower grade openpit ore annually, resulting in an increase in annual production by up to 25 000 oz/y of gold over the current 10-year production plan," WAF executive chairperson Richard Hyde explained. 

He noted that all deposits in the Sanbrado project area showed strong continuity in the vertical extent. As such, an exploration target has been estimated for M5 South beneath the resource area between 500 m and 1 km below surface. 

"WAF’s unhedged mineral resources and ore reserves [now] stand at 12.6-million ounces and 6.4-million ounces of gold, respectively. Our unhedged ten-year production outlook estimates production of more than 200 000 oz/y of gold in 2023 and 2024, and more than 400 000 oz/y of gold from 2025 to 2032," Hyde said. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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