NIAMEY, Niger Construction has begun on the US$27-million Samira Hill gold mine 90 km west of Niamey. ETRUSCAN RESOURCES of Windsor, N.S., and SEMAFO INC. of Montreal are building a mine, CIL plant and related facilities. Production is planned by the 3rd quarter of 2004.
Socit des Mines du Liptako SA (SML) has been created to operate the mine. SML is a limited liability company governed by the laws of Niger and is owned 80% by African GeoMin Mining Development Corp. and 20% by the Government of Niger. African GeoMin is in turn owned by Semafo (50%) and Etruscan (50%).
During the first year Samira Hill mine will produce 135,000 oz of gold at a cash cost of US$177/oz. The mine is expected to produce an average of 100,000 oz of gold annually at an average cash cost of US$203 per ounce. Minable reserves from the initial pits are estimated at 10.1 million tonnes grading 2.21 g/t Au from which 618,036 oz will be recovered over a 6.3-year mine life. Total resources (all categories) are 36.5 million tonnes at 1.70 g/t Au.
As a requirement of the project financing, a hedging program has been put in place covering a total of 300,000 oz of gold. Half of this quantity has been hedged at US$360/oz, and the remainder has been hedged at a minimum price of US$360/oz with a potential maximum of US$390. The hedging program accounts for 49% of the recoverable reserves with the forward contracts being delivered into over a six-year period.
The Samira Hill and Libiri deposits, which comprise the current minable reserves, are only two of a number of significant gold deposits within what is now recognized as an emerging gold belt known as the Samira Horizon. Both deposits remain open at depth. By constructing a central processing facility at Samira, future exploration will target the development of satellite gold deposits within easy trucking distance of the mill, along the 50-km-long gold-bearing horizon.
To gain an in-depth understanding of the Samira Hill project, go to www.etruscan.com, click on Projects and Niger. Or visit www.semafo.com.