Amara Mining has announced the results of an NI 43-101-compliant prefeasibility study of its 100% owned Yaoure open-pit gold project in Côte d’Ivoire. The project’s gold resource base includes 4.4 million oz indicated in 106.3 million mt grading 1.29 g/mt and 2.6 million oz inferred in 63 million mt grading 1.19 g/mt. The prefeasibility study focuses on a mineral reserve of 2.7 million oz in 70.4 million mt grading 1.18 g/mt, but also includes a scenario that considers the total resource.

Amara has initiated a 6,000-m drilling program to upgrade a portion of the inferred Yaoure mineral resources to indicated. The company anticipates that a feasibility study planned for completion in the first half of 2016 will include some of these resources and will improve on the already strong results presented by the prefeasibility study.

The prefeasibility study estimates average production of 218,000 oz/y of gold over an 11-year mine life at all-in sustaining costs of $782/oz. Pre-production capital is estimated at $447 million.

The project is designed as a simple owner-operated open-pit mining operation, using drill and blast, with trucks and shovels for loading and haulage. The primary fleet will include 130- to 150-mt haul trucks, 22-m3 electric hydraulic face shovels, and 10- to 12-m3 front-end loaders.

The metallurgy is simple and non-refractory. Recoveries are expected to exceed 90% using conventional whole ore leach processing methods in a carbon-in-pulp circuit.

The Yaoure project remains resilient at low gold prices, with an IRR of 24% at $1,100/oz gold. The economics are driven by excellent existing infrastructure, with low-cost hydro-electric power from the Kossou dam 5 km from the mine site.

Steve Hill, senior project manager for Tetra Tech, the independent consultant responsible for the Yaoure prefeasibility study, said, “The Yaoure gold project has been developed as a robust, conventional, open-pit and carbon-in-pulp project with strong potential for further optimization. It is designed to deliver bulk mining, large-scale production over a mine life in excess of 10 years.

“Its processing costs are particularly attractive compared to other West African projects due to its location, which offers low-cost power and abundant water. Prior to completing the bankable feasibility study, Tetra Tech looks forward to involvement in a number of optimization studies to assist Amara in determining the best long-term strategy for developing one of Africa’s next major gold mines.”