Avion Gold announced on May 8, 2012, that the mill expansion project at it Tabakoto & Segala operations in Mali had been temporarily suspended due to business disruptions associated with the military coup in that nation. The project, designed to lift mill throughput from 2,000 to 4,000 mt/d, was 80% complete. Mining and milling operations were continuing at the existing mill. Suspension of the expansion project was a direct result of some of Avion’s contractors demobilizing back to their home bases due to foreign government travel warnings for Mali, as well as a slowdown of construction supplies moving through customs at Mali’s borders.

The foreign government travel warnings were mostly applicable to the northern half of the country. “Avion has taken and is taking prudent precautions to ensure the safety and welfare of its employees at site, which is located approximately 350 km from the capital of Bamako and more 1,000 km from the insurgency in the northern part of Mali,” Avion COO Andrew Bradfield said.

“It is disappointing to have to temporarily halt the mill expansion so close to completion. However, without some of the contactors and upgrade supplies on site, we had no choice but to put the project on standby. The suspension of the expansion plans will affect Avion’s planned production growth. However, regular supplies and fuel shipments continue to arrive at site, a large amount of consumable inventory exists at the mine, our 2,000-mt/d mill continues to run well, and we are still producing gold. Once the political situation has been resolved, we expect to be able to provide a revised timetable for the completion of the mill upgrade.”