Drilling underway at the
Sabodala gold project

Australian-based mineral exploration and development company Mineral Deposits Limited (MDL) has established a major presence in Senegal, and has committed to work with all stakeholders in the west African country – government, community, staff and shareholders – to develop mines of major international significance.

In its latest update, the company says drilling and resource results from its Sabodala gold project in Senegal continue to exceed expectations, and the project is developing into a very significant gold deposit.

Located in the far east of Senegal some 650 km from Dakar, the Sabodala gold resource now exceeds 2.2 million ounces, representing a sharp 75% increase in the past year. More exploration work is in progress, and drilling is continuing to expand the resource even further, with four drill rigs operating on double shift.

MDL claims to have hit significant high-grade gold intersections from its ongoing drilling programme on the deeper down-dip mineralisation immediately below the proposed open pit. The preliminary open pit design had indicated 1 million ounces of mineable reserves, but the new east flat zone was announced in May, and it is this deeper high-grade zone that is responsible for the sharp increase in mineable reserves.

The Presidential Decree for the Sabodala gold project has been signed by Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, and the preliminary planning details of the project are as follows:

  • Mine planning is well advanced, and construction of a 2Mtpa processing plant is expected to commence soon. The plant will treat about three grams per tonne of orebearing rock
  • Production of some 150 000 ounces of gold per annum is expected over an estimated mine life of 10 years
  • MDL expects production to exceed 200 000 ounces in the first two years
  • An open pit stripping ratio of 4.6:1 equates to a cash cost of between US$300 and US$350 per ounce of gold
  • The capital cost of the project will amount to US$145 million (more than R1 billion), plus working capital.
  • Engineering is already underway with critical items such as the power station and SAG and ball mills on order. Work has commenced on the major water dam, which is being built by internationally known contractor BCM International Limited of Ghana.