Asanko Gold in mid-May reported the results of a positive pre-feasibility study (PFS) for its flagship Esaase gold project in Ghana. The PFS considers an open-pit operation producing an average of 200,000 oz/y of gold over a mine life of more than 10 years. Based on the robust economics outlined in the PFS, Asanko has initiated a definitive feasibility study of the project and is targeting completion of the study in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Asanko is a Canadian junior company headquartered in Vancouver. The company was formerly known as Keegan Resources but changed its name to Asanko Gold on March 1, to reflect the region in Ghana where it operates. The Esaase project is located about 200 km northwest of Accra, Ghana’s capital, and 35 km southwest of Kumasi, the regional capital.

The Esaase PFS includes a detailed life-of-mine plan based on measured and indicated resources of 4.41 million oz of gold grading 1.45 g/mt at a 0.6 g/mt cut-off. These resources include 2.37 million oz of proven and probable reserves at an average grade of 1.41 g/mt.

The PFS is based on contract truck-and-shovel mining. The mining fleet would include four 18-m3 Cat 6030 excavators and 28 100-mt Cat 777G trucks, plus auxiliary equipment.

The plant flowsheet includes conventional crushing, grinding, and gravity recovery, followed by flotation, with the flotation concentrate being reground and then leached in a standard carbon-in-leach circuit using AARL (Anglo American Research Laboratories) elution technology.

Installation capital for the Esaase project is estimated at $286.4 million, including all associated infrastructure and a 10% contingency. Life-of-mine cash operating costs are estimated at $736/oz, and life-of-mine all-in sustaining cash costs after taxes are estimated at $990/oz.

The Esaase permitting process is well-advanced, and Asanko anticipates that it will be completed before the end of 2013.