Commercial production at SEMAFO Inc.’s Boungou mine in Burkina Faso was reached on September 1. Commercial production was declared when operations reached the internal commercial production measure of 30 consecutive days of mill throughput at 75% of nominal design capacity at 4,000 tons per day (t/d). During the 30-day period, the mill processed more than 90,000 metric tons (mt) of ore at an average grade of 2.4 g/mt Au and with a recovery rate of 83%.
During the period, the mill mainly processed lower grade ore sourced from the east pit. However, as the process was being optimized, higher grade ore was introduced and a recovery rate of more than 93% was reached at the end of the period.
The Boungou mine began processing ore at the end of May and achieved its first gold pour on June 28. During the pre-commercial period from June to end of August, Boungou produced 12,000 ounces (oz) of gold. In 2018, the Boungou mine is expected to produce between 60,000 and 70,000 oz of gold in commercial production.
Currently, the stockpile holds more than 300,000 mt of ore. Mining is ramping up in the starter pit, which contains the highest-grade reserves. Furthermore, Boungou’s water storage facilities hold 2 million cubic meters of water, more than enough to maintain operations until the next rainy season.
As of December 31, 2017, mineral reserves at Boungou stood at 11.2 million mt at 4.11 g/t Au for 1.5 million oz of gold. Initial results from the US$9 million 2018 exploration program on Boungou have confirmed the occurrence of gold-bearing mineralization at the nearby Osaanpalo and Baali Zones. Drill programs after the rainy season will focus on testing the extent of the structures on both zones with the aim of identifying new mineral resources and supporting future production increases.