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Resolute Mining to raise African presence

Primed with a recent US$100 million funding injection ASX-listed Resolute Mining is growing its African footprint and accelerating its mining developments.

MD and CEO John Welborn stated this at the Paydirt Africa Down Under (ADU) Mining Conference in Perth.

Welborn told the ADU audience that the upcoming period of development will be one of the most active periods in Resolute’s colourful 23 year history in Africa.

Leading the way is the Syama Gold Mine in Mali where Resolute is developing a world class, fully automated sub-level cave gold mine.

The new underground project at Syama is set to develop an estimated gold resource of 7.9 million ounces over an initial 14 year mine-life, at approximately 300,000 ozpa.

Welborn told the mining conference that the next phase of development at the flagship Syama project is on track to be delivered by December 2018.

He said a Syama underground feasibility study update finalised earlier this year confirmed the operation’s long life, low cost potential.

The former Wallaby rugby player said the decision to go to full autonomous mining and improvements to site power generation facilities will see Syama produce at an All-In Sustaining Cost of US$746 per ounce over its 14-year life of mine.

“Syama will be the first purpose-built, fully automated, underground mine in the world,” Welborn said.

Highlights of the ground-breaking Syama underground development include:

  • A world class sub-level cave gold mine in the making;
  • Controlled, high-productivity ore delivery;
  • Full automation maximises operating efficiencies;
  • Early access to ore without leaving a crown pillar below the open pit;
  • A flexible method with ability to adapt cut-off grades depending on economic inputs;
  • Low upfront capex; and
  • A strong partnership with Sandvik

Resolute is also looking at further expansion opportunities at Syama, with a recently completed optimisation study identifying potential to improve mining and processing rates from the underground mine. Independent analysis has identified potential for higher production rates incorporating both sublevel cave and long hole open stope production.

Resolute has also recently completed an updated feasibility study at the Bibiani Gold Mine in Ghana, which has demonstrated the potential for a long life, high margin project.

The estimated ~US$75 million project at Bibiani would develop an approximately 2.5Moz resource at a rate of ~100,000 ounces p.a over an initial 10 year mine-life.

Wellborn told the ADU audience that operational readiness planning is set to commence in FY2019, with a FID targeted to follow the Syama underground ramp-up.

Resolute, which has produced 4.5 Moz of gold to date in Africa, paid US$420 million in royalties and US$1.5 billion to local vendors and employees, has continued to build on its African presence with the acquisition of stakes in a number of well managed African focused exploration teams holding promising tenure in highly prospective gold regions

This includes Lonco (27%); Mako Gold (19%); Orca Gold (17%); Oklo Resources (10%) Manas Resources (23%) and Kilo Gold 27%.

Welborn said Resolute “has built its proud history on the company’s love of Africa”.

He said the geological richness of Africa, the enthusiasm of the African people, the economic potential and the supportive governments, made Africa a great place to invest.

However, he warned that there were still a number of issues facing the mining sector across Africa.

“We need Mining Code stability and strength, taxation transparency and respect of Mining Convention terms and stability,”  Wellborn said.

He highlighted the importance of finding a solution to recuperating Value Add Tax.

“Recuperating VAT is the silent sleeping giant in increasing investment in mining in Africa,” he said.