The Burkina Faso government has granted Endeavour Mining a mining permit extension covering the full Kari Area at Endeavour’s Houndé open-pit gold operations. The Kari Area hosts the previously announced Kari Pump, Kari West, and Kari Center discoveries, in addition to the recently discovered Kari Gap and Kari South targets. Mining has begun on the Kari Pump deposit about 7 kilometers (km) west the Houndé plant.
The Burkina Faso government has permitted the Kari Area as an extension of the main Houndé mining permit, allowing the area to benefit from Burkina Faso’s 2003 Mining Code, which includes a corporate income tax rate of 17.5%, a 10% free-carried state interest, and a royalty based on a 3% to 5% sliding scale linked to prevailing gold prices.
Endeavour completed more than 60,000 meters (m) of grade-control drilling in the Kari Area during the second quarter of 2020 in anticipation of receipt of the mining permit. Mining activities have commenced and are expected to increase the second-half 2020 average feed grade to the Houndé plant, positioning the mine to achieve the upper end of its production guidance of 230,000 oz to 250,000 oz.
Endeavour CEO Sébastien de Montessus said, “We are pleased to have received consent to start mining in the Kari Area, beginning with the Kari Pump deposit, and we are grateful to the Burkina Faso government for its extraordinary efforts to finalize this permit in spite of the unusual challenges resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“Endeavour has been keenly focused on creating value through the drill bit. Our success in moving Kari Pump from discovery to production in under three years underscores our aggressive exploration strategy and the value of our strong established government partnerships in West Africa.
“Getting the Kari Area permit was a key 2020 milestone and will positions us to achieve the upper end of our production target at Houndé as we benefit from mining higher-grade ore at Kari Pump. The Kari Area continues to hold exciting upside potential, and we will be providing an updated resource estimate for the entire area in the coming weeks.”
A 2020 exploration program of up to $11 million, totaling approximately 94,000 m of drilling, has been planned at the Houndé mine permit, including the Kari Area, with the aim of delineating additional resources. As of early July, more than 400 holes representing more than 50,000 m had been drilled since the start of the year in the Kari area, in addition to grade-control drilling.
On July 22, Endeavour announced that measured and indicated resources at the Houndé mine had increased by 554,000 oz to 4.5 million oz based on further resource delineation at the Kari Area. The Kari Area now accounts for 57% of Houndé measured and indicated resources, with 2.5 million oz of indicated resources discovered over the past three years.
The Houndé mine is located 250 km southwest of Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso. Ownership is 90% Endeavour, 10% government of Burkina Faso. The mine produced 223,000 oz of gold in 2019 at all-in sustaining costs of $878/oz.