Following a first gold pour in January 2018 Toro Gold has reported figures for the first three months of production at its 90% owned Mako gold mine in Senegal.
“I am delighted to be able to provide this positive update on the performance of the Mako Mine in Senegal,” comments Toro Gold CEO Martin Horgan.
“After a highly successful construction period, the transition to operations has gone extremely well with all aspects of the mine operating either in line or better than forecast.
“As we settle into steady state operations, focus is now moving to the identification of operational enhancements to improve both production and cost performance against the current LoM plan.
“I look forward to providing further updates in due course, he adds.
Commissioning and ramp up
Following on from Toro Gold Mako mines first gold pour at the end of January, the Mako Mine completed a series of operational trials over a seven day continuous period to confirm operational performance of the metallurgical plant and ensure its ability to meet and maintain design parameters – the Performance Trial.
As has been previously discussed, the ore types at Mako are hard and abrasive and a key focus of the Performance Trial was to therefore ensure the comminution circuit could achieve the target grind size at forecast power consumption and circuit wear rates / consumable use.
Mining operations had encountered significantly more “weathered / soft” full grade ore in the pit than expected leading to the likelihood that the Performance Trial would be based on non-representative softer ore.
Management accordingly took the decision to utilise available lower grade hard / fresh ore for the trial which led to feed grades over the Performance Trial period of 1.7 g/t Au versus a budgeted grade for the period of 2.5 g/t Au.
This led to a lower than planned average mill feed grade over the period, although this has been offset by higher than expected mill throughput.
Following the performance trial the “run of mine” ore being fed to the mill is in line with budget forecasts.
The Performance Trial was successfully completed during February 2018 and the construction team demobilised from the mine site shortly thereafter.
Commissioning and ramp up of the processing plant has been excellent with steady state production at name plate levels experienced from within a month after the first gold pour.
Accordingly, year to date milling is some 18% above forecast as a result of both the rapid ramp up and mill availability of 95.4% over the period against the forecast 94%, leading to 540 kt processed at a head grade of 2.34 g/t Au against the budget of 460 kt at 2.49 g/t Au.
Further, despite this increase in through put, the plant is achieving its target grind size of P(80) 125µm while using approximately 6.5 MW of power against the design of 8.4 MW.
General observations of wear points throughout the comminution circuit indicate better than forecast liner life which have led to lower operating costs and higher availability of the plant.
The fixed tail grade is some 44% lower than forecast, leading to improved metallurgical recoveries with the year to date indicating a recovery of 94.8% over the period against a budget of 91.3% recovery.
Further optimisation of the process plant will occur over the next six months to determine the optimal performance of the facility with target grind size, reagent use and throughput rates / power consumption reviewed with the aim of improving gold production and reducing costs.
Despite the lower head grade achieved through February due to the Performance Test, gold sales are ahead of target with a total of 32,556 ounces sold over the period against the budget of 32,270 ounces.
Three shipments to the refinery in Switzerland have been successfully completed over the period.
Health and Safety performance has been excellent with zero Lost Time Injuries reported since the beginning of operations.
Management focus for the balance of 2018 will be to identify further optimisation opportunities to improve the already excellent operating parameters.
A review of the open pit mining schedule and haulage routes, powder factors and Reserve calculations will be completed in parallel with a review of plant performance which will look at throughput and grind size trade-offs to determine an optimal new life of mine plan during the second half of 2018.
This is expected to be based on an updated Resource model that will likely include the results of on-going exploration works on the main deposit – an update on which will be provided in due course.