HomeGoldMassawa project could be world class

Massawa project could be world class

Rod Quick – Randgold’s
General Manager: Project
Development, Evaluation
& Environmental
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 08 May 2009 – The first resource declaration from the Massawa project in Senegal – followed by a positive scoping study – have confirmed that this exploration target has the makings of a world class ore body.

Behind the project is international gold mining and exploration company Randgold Resources Limited, and in releasing its report for the first quarter of 2009 here, general manager: projects, evaluation and environment Rod Quick expressed the belief that although it was at an early scoping stage and still based on an inferred resource, Massawa had the potential to develop into one of the top gold projects in Africa. “The geological model requires infill drilling and modelling to improve continuity and conformity, but there are a number of very encouraging signs,” he added.

Quick confirmed that a pre-feasibility study scheduled for completion by the end of this year was now underway. Three diamond drill rigs had started a 30 000m pre-feasibility drilling programme, and an RC rig was being mobilised for 5 000m of shallow drilling. “We’re aiming to complete as much of this drilling as possible by the end of July, before the start of the annual rains,” said group exploration manager Paul Harbidge.

The first inferred resource at Massawa is 36.76 Mt @ 2.87g/t for 3.39 Moz, and the scoping study points to a robust project that will deliver value at both US$650/oz and US$850/oz pit shells. Significantly, the higher grade identified in the northern zone of the present resource moved the project above Randgold Resources’ IRR hurdle of 20%, even at a US$650/oz gold price and current costs.

The northernmost 600m – known as N2 – hosts an impressive line up of high grade intersections within a very evenly mineralised section. Recent intercepts have included 22.5m @ 13.42g/t and 13m @ 8.35g/t. Pit optimisations indicate that this area has sufficient grade, along with its vertical nature and moderate width, to support an underground operation.

The Randgold report went on to say that metallurgical test work to date had pointed to very good recoveries from saprolite material, while the sulphide ore would require flotation and fine grind of the concentrate to produce recoveries of 89%. “Our present financial models have been run on straight 89% recoveries and don’t take into account the higher recoveries from the substantial oxide resource, so we know there is still upside,” said group metallurgical manager Paul Gillot.