Ghana – Canadian gold miner Asanko Gold has decided to fast track mining of Akwasiso ahead of Dynamite Hill and will commence ore mining in June 2017.
The decision to fast track mining of Akwasiso ahead of Dynamite Hill is due to receipt of regulatory approval and follows the recent successful completion of an in-fill drill programme that substantially increased measured reserves by 62% to 214 500 oz of contained gold.
In addition, the deposit is 4 km closer to the processing facility thereby reducing transport costs and site establishment costs as well as being higher grade and larger than Dynamite Hill, enabling greater mining flexibility.
Located approximately 3 km north east of the processing facility, Akwasiso is the largest satellite deposit and being at surface requires minimal pre-strip or development work. Mining operations will focus initially on the oxide ore, which will augment the ore feed to the existing processing facility as the volumetric upgrades come online as part of the Project 5 Million (P5M) upgrade to 5 Mtpa.
In line with Asanko Gold’s corporate social responsibility strategy, the mining contract has been awarded to a local Ghanaian mining contractor who has been mobilised with both road and site preparations already underway. “First ore is expected to be fed to the plant in June 2017 and we expect the mining and processing costs of this ore to be considerably cheaper than the current hard rock operations at Nkran,” says Asanko Gold president and CEO Peter Breese.
As a result, the commencement of mining at Dynamite Hill has been re-scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2018, in line with the original Akwasiso timing.
Full details of the mining rates, grades and strip ratio for Akwasiso will be included in the updated life of mine plan, which will be published as part of the expansion definitive feasibility study which is nearing completion and will be released on 5 June 2017, along with updated life of mine plan for all 11 pits comprising the Asanko gold mine complex.
Environmental permits secured
Asanko Gold notes that the Ghanaian Environmental Protection Agency has issued the environmental permits for Dynamite Hill, Nkran Extension and Adubiaso Extension. Receipt of these permits completes the permitting process for these satellite deposits, which are now ready for mining operations.
“We continue to see 2017 as a year of two halves with the true benefit of Akwasiso to be realised in the second half of 2017 as we leverage the benefits of Akwasiso’s oxide material through the volumetric upgrades in the processing facility that are tracking well ahead of schedule,” says. Breese.
Feature image credit: Asanko Gold
(Asanko Gold’s Asanko gold mine in Ghana)