TSX-listed gold miner SEMAFO achieved commercial production at its Boungou mine in Burkina Faso on 1 September 2018.
SEMAFO declared commercial production when operations reached the internal commercial production measure of 30 consecutive days of mill throughput at 75% of nominal design capacity (4 000 tpd). During the 30-day period, the mill processed more than 90 000 t of ore at an average grade of 2.4 g/t gold and with a recovery rate of 83%.
During the period, the mill mainly processed lower grade ore sourced from the east pit. However, as the process was being optimized, higher grade ore was introduced and a recovery rate of more than 93% was reached at the end of the period.
The Boungou mine began processing ore at the end of May and achieved its first gold pour on 28 June 2018. During the pre-commercial period from June to the end of August, Boungou produced 12 000 oz of gold.
In 2018, the Boungou mine is expected to produce between 60 000 and 70 000 oz of gold in commercial production.
Currently, the stockpile holds more than 300 000 t of ore. Mining is ramping up in the starter pit, which contains the highest-grade reserves. Furthermore, Boungou’s water storage facilities hold 2 million cubic meters of water – more than enough to maintain operations until the next rainy season.
As at 31 December 2017, mineral reserves at Boungou stood at 11.2 Mt grading at 4.11 g/t gold for 1.5 Moz of gold. Initial results from the US$9 million 2018 exploration programme on Boungou have confirmed the occurrence of gold-bearing mineralization at the nearby Osaanpalo and Baali Zones.
Drill programmes after the rainy season will focus on testing the extent of the structures on both zones with the aim of identifying new mineral resources and supporting future production increases.