Endeavour Mining has declared commercial production more than two months ahead of schedule as a stable nameplate capacity was achieved within weeks from first ore being introduced into the plant on 25 September 2017.
“We are extremely proud to declare commercial production ahead of schedule, below-budget, and most importantly at full nameplate capacity with all key metrics ahead of the assumptions set out in the feasibility study,” states Endeavour Mining CEO and president Sébastien de Montessus.
“I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our integrated project team led by Jeremy Langford, our COO & EVP Projects, which has successfully designed and delivered the project over the past four years from feasibility through to commercial production.
“As demonstrated by its very low AISC of below $600/oz, Houndé is expected to immediately start contributing to the group’s free cash flow generation.
“After unlocking value by successfully bringing the project into production, we now look forward to quickly creating further value through our exploration programme,” says de Montessus.
Houndé achieved its first gold pour on 18 October 2017.
A seven-day performance trial testing period was recently successfully completed with all key metrics above targets: processing rate of 8 600 tpd, overall plant availability of 96% and gold recovery rate of 95%.
Over the remainder of the year maintenance and optimisation down-time periods have been scheduled.
Mining activities at the main Vindaloo open pit are progressing well with nearly three-months’ worth of feed already stockpiled and positive grade reconciliation against the resource model being achieved.
The current stockpile totals 571 000 t at 2.6 g/t containing 47 000 oz, inclusive of 130 000 t at over 5 g/t.
Resettlement compensation for communities living near the high-grade Bouere and Dohoun satellite deposits has commenced, with mining activities scheduled to begin in late 2018.
The Houndé build was completed $15 million below the initial capital budget of $328 million.
As construction was tracking ahead of schedule and below budget, Endeavour Mining decided, in addition to the initial planned works, to spend an additional $21 million, bringing the total spend to $334 million.
Houndé is expected to produce between 30 000 to 35 000 oz of gold at an AISC between $550-600/oz in Q4, 2017. Endeavour Mining will start reporting operating costs for Houndé beginning 1 November 2017.
Exploration drilling, which resumed in early 2017 following a two year period of inactivity, has confirmed the occurrence of high-grade mineralisation at the nearby Kari Pump and other targets, with the initial results expected to be published in the coming weeks.
Feature image credit: Endeavour Mining