Endeavour Mining has reported the results of a positive NI 43-101-compliant feasibility study of its Houndé gold project in southwest Burkina Faso. The study considers an owner-operated, open-pit mining operation producing an average of 178,000 oz/y of gold over an 8.1-year mine life, with total life-of-mine (LOM) production of 1.44 million oz. Proven and probable reserves total 25 million mt at an average grade of 1.95 g/mt gold.

Initial start-up capital for the Houndé project is estimated at $315 million, including working capital, import duties and contingency. LOM sustaining capital is estimated at $62 million, and rehabilitation and closure costs are estimated at $26 million. Direct cash costs of production are forecast at $636/oz, excluding royalties, and all-in sustaining costs are forecast at $775/oz, including royalties and rehabilitation and closure.

The Houndé feasibility study focuses on the Vindaloo group of deposits, which are approximately 2.7 km from a paved highway and as close as 200 m to a 225-kV power line. The nearby town of Houndé has a population of approximately 22,000. A rail line that extends to the port of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, passes approximately 25 km west of the deposit area.

Houndé ownership upon achieving production will be 90% Endeavour and 10% government of Burkina Faso. 

The Houndé flowsheet calls for a 3-million-mt/y primary crushing plant, followed by a SAG/ball mill grinding circuit and a gravity/carbon-in-leach (CIL) plant. Ground ore will feed continuous centrifugal gravity concentrators to recover free and occluded gold in heavy particles (pyrite) to a gravity concentrate. This concentrate will be reground and fed to a concentrate leach circuit.

Gravity concentration tails will be thickened and fed to a standard CIL circuit, with leach tails passing into a cyanide destruction process before being pumped to tailings storage. 

Gold recovery is estimated at 93.3%.

Endeavour CEO Neil Woodyer said, “Houndé is a strong gold project with potential to produce approximately 180,000 oz/y at an all-in sustaining cost of under $800/oz. At a $1,300 gold price, Houndé has an attractive after-tax IRR of 22%, illustrating strong cash flow generation.

“The project also benefits from excellent infrastructure, our current Agbaou mine building expertise, and our Burkina Faso operating experience at Youga. While work continues on obtaining the Houndé mining permit, we are evaluating how best to integrate Houndé into Endeavour’s production growth plans.”

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