West Africa-focused gold miner Roxgold has added near-surface, open-pittable reserves and resources to its mineral inventory at the underground Yaramoko mine complex in Burkina Faso. The company released a resource and reserve update, which shows net ounce growth at the site, after mining depletion.
With the latest additions, Roxgold now has 820,000 tonnes of probable reserves, at 7.2 g/t gold, which contain 190,000 gold oz., in the open-pit category above the operating 55 Zone underground mine. These are made up of material that forms the crown pillar, remnant halo mineralization and include sub-parallel structures to the main 55 Zone structure. According to the release, these would support an open pit operation once the 55 Zone underground mine is completed and extend the total mine life of the 55 Zone.
Underground reserves at the 55 Zone mine stand at 1.6 million tonnes grading 7 g/t gold for 365,000 contained oz. Further underground reserves at Bagassi South underground add 576,000 tonnes at 7.6 g/t gold for another 141,000 gold ounces.
The combined reserves are within total measured and indicated resources of 2.7 million tonnes grading 10 g/t gold containing 857,000 gold oz. Further inferred resources add 556,000 tonnes at 6.8 g/t gold for an additional 121,000 oz. of gold.
The latest underground reserves are based on cut-off grades between 2.8 g/t gold and 3.1 g/t gold; open-pit reserves are derived from a 0.9 g/t gold cut-off.
According to John Dorward, Roxgold’s president and CEO, this update speaks to the prospectivity of the Yaramoko complex and sets the stage for further mine life extensions.
“Since starting production in 2016, the Yaramoko Mine Complex has poured over 575,000 ounces of gold and continues to demonstrate its ability to replace production and maintain a long mine life,” Dorward said in a release. “With today’s announcement, we are planning for an open pit operation with a reserve grade of over 7 g/t to complement the high-grade underground operation and extend the mine life at the 55 Zone.”
Dorward also explained that these initial open pit additions are the first phase of Roxgold’s plans to extend the Yaramoko mine life. This month, the company started a 14,500-metre underground drill program at the 55 Zone, focused on upgrading and extending resources at depth. These results will be part of the company’s annual resource and reserve update, expected mid-2021.
“Extending the mine life at Yaramoko has long been a priority for us and between the success of near-surface drilling program, together with our recently commenced underground drilling program and the prioritization of regional exploration targets, I am confident that we will build a compelling body of evidence over the coming quarters to showcase the long-life nature of Yaramoko.”
In terms of regional exploration, this year, Roxgold has identified early-stage opportunities for drilling. Priority targets lie along the mapped western trend of the 55 Zone and Bagassi South areas. The initial exploration work will target near-surface oxide material.
This year, Roxgold expects its 1,100 t/d Yaramoko mine complex (which is made up of the 55 Zone and Bagassi South underground mines) to produce 120,000 to 130,000 gold oz., at all-in sustaining costs of US$930 to US$990 per oz.
In addition to Yaramoko, the company also holds the pre-development Seguela gold project in Cote d’Ivoire as well as the exploration-stage Boussoura gold project in Burkina Faso.