SEMAFO said that this enables the company to develop the project on schedule. Construction activities at the project, located in south-eastern Burkina Faso, are expected to start in the coming weeks and the first gold pour will take place in the second half of 2018.
SEMAFO announced a positive feasibility study for Natougou in February 2016, which confirmed the economic viability of an open-pit, carbon-in-pulp project delivering an after-tax IRR of 48% at a gold price of $1 100/oz per ounce.
The company describes Natougou as a “key component of its growth platform”, while it also operates the Mana mine in Burkina Faso.
At the advanced gold deposit of Natougou, SEMAFO estimates annual average gold production will be over 226 000 over the first three years, at a total cash cost of $283/oz and an all-in sustaining cost of $374/oz.
Diversified mining services company Ausdrill announced in early January that its wholly owned subsidiary, African Mining Services (AMS) has received a Letter of Intent from SEMAFO for the award of a mining contract at its Natougou project.
AMS will provide contract mining services to SEMAFO at its Boungou gold mine, which forms part of the Natougou project. The contract is expected to generate approximately USD$277 million in revenue over a contract term of five years, with mining expected to commence in April 2017.
The project will require capital expenditure of approximately AUD$55 million for the acquisition of new equipment, which will be funded from cash reserves. AMS anticipates it will employ approximately 235 personnel to complete the works, the majority of whom will be local.