Development of the Inata gold mine project in Burkina Faso’s northern Sahel region began this year. After Taparko, Kalsaka, Youga and Mana, Inata is the fifth gold mine in Burkina Faso to begin construction.

Norwegian company Wega Mining owns 90% or the project with the remaining 10% belonging to the Burkina Faso government. Wega Mining’s interest in Burkina Faso derives from its acquisition of Goldbelt Resources and its Burkina Faso subsidiary, Societe des Mines de Belahouro in December 2007.

The Inata project comprises an owner-operator mining fleet, carbonin- leach (CIL) processing facility, power station, water supply, mine village and all administration and support facilities. Banlaw Africa is the main earthworks and civils contractor. Based on the plant’s capacity of 2.25 million tonnes a year, the Inata project is designed to produce some 140,000 ounces a year of gold over the current project mine life of seven years.

Truck

Burkina Faso’s ministerof mines, Abdoul Kader Cissie at the controls
of a Banlaw Africa Caterpillar earthmover as part of a ceremony to initiate Burkina Faso’s fifth gold mining project.

Goldbelt bought an existing processing plant in Australia in late 2006 and finished dismantling of that plant in mid-2007. The major components of the plant are a 6.0 x 4.0 metre SAG mill, a 4.0 m x 5.0 m ball mill, a jaw crusher and ancillary equipment. The plant underwent a thorough assessment and refurbishing process that was concluded in March 2008. An additional ball mill was bought last year and was taken to South Africa to be revamped.

A 12.6 MW power station from Connell Mining Products and the Komatsu mining fleet comprising a 200 tonne excavator matched to 95 tonne capacity haul trucks will be delivered over a six-month period from June 2008.

A 100 million m3 water reservoir, the Gomde Barrage, is currently under construction. Besides constituting the primary water source for the project, assisted by water wells in the surrounding areas, this dam will also represent a stable supply of water for the local communities, a major benefit which has built strong social support for the project.

Project commissioning is scheduled for December 2008. The Inata project will employ 230 staff, most of which will be recruited from within Burkina Faso.

Wega Mining has also been exploring in the area and has recognised a number of resource targets that are to be developed with the aim of providing extra ore feed to Inata.