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West African’s 2024 production to align with long-term mining plan

6th February 2024

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online

     

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ASX-listed West African Resources expects its Sanbrado mine, in Burkina Faso, to produce between 190 000 oz and 210 000 oz of gold this year, consistent with the company’s long-term mining plan.

Output will, however, be lower than the 226 823 oz of gold produced at Sanbrado in 2023, owing to reduced ounces from openpit mining, which will be partially offset by more ounces from underground operations.

Mining from the higher-grade M5 South openpit is scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of this year and openpit ore will mostly come from M5 North, while increased tonnes and higher grades are forecast to deliver more ounces from the M1 South underground.

An all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of less than $1 300/oz is expected this year, an increase from the AISC of $1 126/oz in 2023, primarily owing to lower forecast gold production, along with higher gold royalty rates and forecast fuel prices.

Capital development costs are forecast to increase, from $25-million last year to between $28-million and $38-million this year.

Sustaining capital expenditure (capex) is expected to be $7-million to $12-million, in line with last year’s $11-million.

Several capital improvement projects were completed at Sanbrado last year and the major sustaining capital project for this year is the continuation of work on a tailings storage facility (TSF) to complete another lift and establish the life-of-mine TSF footprint.

By year-end, the available TSF capacity is forecast to be equivalent to 33 months of production.

Growth capex is expected to be in the range of $230-million to $270-million, primarily allocated to construction of the Kiaka gold project, which is also located in Burkina Faso.

Onshore process plant construction at Kiaka currently centres around foundation excavations and concrete installation.

The 225 kV power supply line has been finalised and the major design, procurement and installation contracts have been executed.

Offshore steel fabrication is progressing, with structural steel and platework package fabrication well advanced.

Highlights for the first half of this year are expected to include the arrival on site of mill shells, the start of carbon-in-leach (CIL) tank steel fabrication, progress on the TSF and water storage dam earthworks and the procurement phase coming to a close.

By the end of the year, major milestones should include wet testing of the CIL tanks, installation of mills and a crusher, completion of the TSF lining and significant progress on the installation of the 225 kV substations and powerline.

West African executive chairperson and CEO Richard Hyde says Kiaka remains on schedule and on budget, with first gold expected in the second half of 2025.

“We look forward to releasing our updated resources, reserves and ten-year production plan in the coming weeks,” he adds.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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