Cora Gold has reported the results of an initial scoping study of its Sanankoro gold project in southwest Mali that validates the project’s future economic potential. The study, overseen by Wardell Armstrong International, investigated the potential development of near-surface oxide resources, which Cora expects to expand significantly to incorporate additional oxide and sulphide potential.

The scoping study indicates that at a $1,400 gold price a 1.5-million-metric-ton-per-year (mt/y) heap leach mine could deliver more than 45,000 ounces per year (oz/y) of gold at all-in sustaining costs of $942/oz over an initial mine life of three years. Preproduction capital expenditures are estimated at $20.6 million.

Cora CEO Bert Monro commented, “This scoping study shows Sanankoro has the potential to be a highly profitable stand-alone oxide mine, delivering a high IRR and short capex payback, with an annual average free cash flow of more than $19 million at a $1,400 gold price. The key will be to drill out more oxide resources to extend the mine life and sustain the cash flow well beyond this maiden study.

“To date, we have only drilled about 25% of the total strike length of the potential mineralized zones identified on the permit area. Drilling is currently ongoing, and SRK, which handled the resource estimation and mining aspects of the scoping study, has a defined exploration target of 1 million to 2 million oz of gold to a depth of 100 meters (m).”

The Sanankoro project has several distinct mineralized zones. Oxide resources at the project, all inferred, currently stand at 4.5 million mt grading 1.6 g/mt gold. The scoping study anticipates that mining will be predominantly free digging.

In a subsequent announcement, Monro said, “Cora has successfully intersected multiple higher-grade gold intercepts at Sanankoro in its latest drill program. This set of results mainly tested continuity of mineralization at depth, in part below the limit of the existing resource pit shells. The current resource has a range of pit depths from about 40 to 100 m, so there is significant scope to increase the open-pit resources with further successful drilling.