East Africa Metals, the TSXV-listed mining junior, has initiated the mine permitting process for its Terakimti oxide gold project at its 70%-owned Harvest project.

Ethiopia – East Africa Metals has most recently completed the technical, environmental and socio-economic documentation to qualify Terakimti for submission of a mine permit application to the Ethiopian Ministry of Mines, Petroleum, and Natural Gas.

This follows recent metallurgical test work results and an internal company engineering study in support of the development of a mineral resource estimate.

Terakimti oxide gold project profile

  • Mineral Resource : 1.13 Mt grading 3.2 g/t gold and 24 g/t silver containing 107 000 oz of gold and 812 000 oz of silver;
  • Simulated heap leach recoveries: 75.3% gold and 39.7% silver
  • Mining Mmthod: Conventional open pit;
  • Processing: Heap leaching to produce gold-silver dore;

Proposed mining operation

The Terakimti oxide deposit is proposed as an open pit mining operation followed by heap leaching and on site processing to produce gold-silver dore.

The combination of near surface oxide gold and silver mineralisation, hosted in soft rock when compared to other deposits, high and rapid extraction of gold at coarse crush sizes in metallurgical test work along with satisfactory percolation rates all support this strategy for the development of the Terakimti project.

Project infrastructure

The Terakimti project is located in the Tigray region of Northern Ethiopia, approximately 600 km north of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

The region has regular air service and very good, modern transportation and power infrastructure. The existing power and infrastructure located close to the project site enhances the development potential of the proposed operation.

The proposed mining operation would utilise grid power for the project, for which the nearest high tension power line is approximately 7 km away.

Primary road access to the site is by paved highway from the town of Shire, 40 km south of the project. Shire has a population of approximately 60 000 people and sufficient services to serve as a base for off-site project activities.

Local surface and groundwater are expected to be sufficient for a heap leaching operation, and the project would maximise recycling of process water.

Environmental Impact and Socio-Economic Assessment

An independent Environmental Impact and Socio-Economic Assessment (EISA) study has been completed by Beles Engineering of Ethiopia, and forms an integral part of the mine permit application.

This study examined the beneficial and adverse aspects of the proposed mining operation and concluded that the local population is in favor of the project, and the anticipated benefits would be positive and very important to the local community and to the local and regional governments.

[quote]The study identified a small number of local farmers within the 2.8 km² project concession that would require relocation so as not to be directly impacted by the mining activities. East Africa Metals will liaise with the affected families and the community to develop a satisfactory resettlement plan.

Based on the findings of the study, East Africa Metals believes it is possible to successfully manage the environmental and social impacts that would occur upon implementation of mining activities at Terakimti.

The mine permitting process

The first step in the permitting process, submission of the final draft documents to the Harvest Joint Venture Committee for the consideration of the minority partners, has been completed.

Once approval of the Committee has been received, the mine permit application will be formally submitted to the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum, and Natural Gas for review. The company anticipates the Ministry of Mines’ review will result in a recommendation to the Licensing Commission for final approval of the license.

“Advancing the Terakimti gold oxide project to the permitting stage will mark a significant milestone East Africa Metals and highlights the excellent performance the company has achieved with its Ethiopian assets,” says Andrew Lee Smith, President and CEO.

“The resource at Terakimti shares a similarity with other copper-gold projects in the region, such as the Bisha and Debwara deposits, in that the initial mining opportunity was defined by the surface gold-oxide resource followed by mining of copper-gold-zinc sulphide resources.”

Management believes that over time, the potential exists for mining at Terakimti to begin with the gold silver oxide and then transition to high-grade supergene copper oxide and eventually the copper-gold sulphide resource.”

“The Terakimti oxide gold project will provide East Africa Metals the opportunity to benefit from establishing the first heap leach operation in the country, and generate cash flow to re-invest in exploration and development to grow our resources in Ethiopia, which currently stand at 926 000 gold equivalent ounces in the indicated category plus 860 000 gold equivalent ounces in the inferred category.”