Endeavour Mining poured the first gold bar from the carbon-in-leach (CIL) and gravity gold circuits at the Agbaou mine in Côte d’Ivoire on November 29. Agbaou’s ore reclaim, milling, CIL, Knelson concentrator, Gekko intensive leach reactor, cyanide detoxification, and tailings areas were all fully commissioned, and the plant had been ramped up to design throughput levels. Endeavour expects the operation to achieve full commercial production during the first quarter of 2014.

The Agbaou project is located about 200 km northwest of the port city of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Endeavour has an 85% interest in the project, and the government of Côte d’Ivoire holds the remaining 15%. Gold production is planned to average 103,000 oz/y over an eight-year mine life.

The 91-kV mains power supply to Agbaou has been completed, with all power being supplied from the state-owned national power grid. The SAG and ball mills have achieved nameplate design of 203 dry mt/hr. The CIL circuit is achieving design recoveries in excess of 93%. Tailings deposition in the tailings storage facility has begun, and recycling of process water is under way. The on-site laboratory is fully operational.

Agbaou mining operations are based on conventional open-pit techniques, using hydraulic excavators and rear-dump trucks. The oxide portion of the orebody is generally free digging, while the transition and fresh rock portions will require drilling and blasting.

All waste material will be hauled to waste dumps adjacent to the pits. Total waste to be moved is about 87 million mt, for a life-of-mine stripping ratio of 7.87:1. The mine plan indicates that the open pits will reach maximum depths of 150 m to 175 m.

The Agbaou processing plant is based on throughput of 1.6 million mt/y for the oxide portion of the orebody and 1.34 million mt/y for the transition and fresh zones. The milling circuit includes a single-stage SAG mill, a ball mill, a pebble crusher for the SAG mill oversize, and a gravity/CIL circuit. Overall recoveries are projected at 93% for saprolite and 91% for bedrock.

Proven and probable reserves at Agbaou total 11.1 million mt, grading 2.54 g/mt gold at a 0.5-g/mt cut-off and containing 905,000 oz of gold. 

Endeavour CEO Neil Woodyer said, “Endeavour’s project team has taken a feasibility study and grassroots site and built the Agbaou mine in only 16 months. Agbaou is on schedule to achieve full commercial production shortly and, at approximately $800/oz all-in sustaining costs, is forecast to make a meaningful contribution to our free cash flow in 2014 and beyond.”