Toronto, Canada — MININGREVIEW.COM — 01 July 2010 – Leading mid-tier gold mining company IAMGOLD has announced the start-up of its Essakane gold mine in Burkina Faso, six weeks ahead of the previous production schedule and a full six months ahead of the original target of year-end 2010.
Announcing this development in a statement issued here, the company revealed that Essakane had started processing ore last week, and that the mill was operating as planned.
“With the start-up of our second flagship mine, IAMGOLD is not only demonstrating its great project development capabilities, but adding another long life, low cost operation to its portfolio,” said interim president and CEO Peter Jones. “We are positioned for a steady production ramp up, with a core of experienced people, assisted by technical and operational personnel seconded from some of our other operations,” he added.
The company statement said commercial production would be achieved on the first of 30 consecutive days on which total ore processed exceeded 445 000 tonnes, equivalent to 60% of design throughput capacity.
It added that construction of the primary crusher would be completed in about six weeks, as only soft oxide ore would be fed to the plant for the first few months. To date, about five million tonnes of ore, or six months of feed, had been stockpiled due to pre-stripping activity. Mine performance remained in line with expectations for productivity and unit costs, and the water reservoirs were filling, with the onset of the rainy season.
Essakane is 90% owned by IAMGOLD, with the government of Burkina Faso holding the remaining 10%. The operation is expected to produce more than 500 000 ounces of gold from start-up to the end of 2011.