Acacia Mining reported in early May that it has received final required government approvals for the start of mining of the Gokona underground project at its North Mara mine in northern Tanzania. The underground project is developing ore beneath the current Gokona open pit, which is due to be mined out by mid-2015. The underground project is expected to produce 450,000 oz of gold over five years at all-in sustaining costs of under $750/oz.

Acacia said it is confident that the existing underground reserve will be extended as the company increases its understanding of the orebody beneath the pit, with potential for lateral extensions, as well as mineralization that remains open beneath the 300-m vertical depth cut-off used in the current mine plan.

Following the completion of the Gokona open pit, North Mara production for at least the next five years will comprise a blend of high-grade material from Gokona underground and open-pit material from the Nyabirama pit. Acacia expects these ore sources to allow North Mara to sustain production rates of more than 250,000 oz/y of gold at very competitive costs.

The North Mara mine is located 100 km east of Lake Victoria and 20 km south of the Tanzania-Kenya border. The plant has capacity to process an average of 8,000 mt/d. Gold production in 2014 totaled 273,803 oz.

Acacia Mining was formerly known as African Barrick Gold. The name change came into effect in November 2014. Barrick holds a 63.9% interest in the company. Acacia has three producing gold mines in Tanzania: North Mara, Bulyanhulu, and Buzwagi. Combined gold production from the three mines totaled 718,651 oz in 2014.