Banro Corp. poured the first gold at its Namoya mine in Maniema province, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), on December 30, 2013. The pour totaled 320 oz and was accomplished during hot commissioning of Namoya’s heap leach-loaded carbon-elution-electrowinning operations. Commissioning is ongoing during the first quarter of 2014, and commercial production is expected to be achieved by the end of the second quarter.
Namoya is Banro’s second gold mine in the eastern DRC. Its flagship Twangiza mine 210 km northeast of Namoya began production in October 2011. When Namoya reaches full production of about 110,000 oz/y, the two mines will produce a combined total of about 225,000 oz/y.
Banro is a Canadian company headquartered in Toronto. All of its current projects lie along the Twangiza-Namoya gold belt in South Kivu and Maniema provinces. Other projects include Kamituga and Lugushwa.
In the Kamituga region, alluvial gold was discovered in the Luliaba, Mobale, Kahushimira, Kamakundu and Idoka rivers during the early 1920s. Commercial alluvial mining began in 1924. Exploration during the 1930s led to the discovery of numerous high-grade quartz veins, and underground hard-rock mining began at Mobale in 1937.
During the period of active mining at Kamituga, 29 gold nuggets weighing more than 1 kg each were found in alluvial gravels. At the closure of the Kamituga operations in 1996, approximately 1.5 million oz of gold had been produced from alluvial and hard-rock mining.
Banro’s exploration work at Kamituga during 2013 was limited as the company focused its resources on its Twangiza and Namoya operations.
At Lugushwa, Banro has delineated measured and indicated resources of 1.13 million oz and inferred mineral resources of 4.48 million oz of gold in near-surface material, with the focus being on oxide resources. Exploration is ongoing, with the objective of increasing the oxide resource and laying the groundwork for a scoping study.