Cote d’Ivoire – This marks a 1.5 Moz increase in the indicated mineral resource base at the Ity mine on which the November 2016 feasibility study was based and is a result of significant exploration efforts in the first half of the year.
In light of this strong resource growth, an updated reserve estimate is expected to be published in September as part of an optimisation study, which is expected to be based on a circa 4 Mtpa gravity circuit/carbon-in-leach (CIL) plant, an increase from the previously contemplated 3 Mtpa plant, to better capture the value created from recent exploration success.
Ahead of the optimisation study, exploration efforts since the beginning of the year have been mainly directed at increasing indicated resources on known deposits through in-fill, delineation, and extension drilling, with up to eight rigs deployed. More than 31 000 m of diamond drilling were conducted, with efforts mainly focused on Daapleu, Bakatouo, Verse Ouest, Colline Sud and Mont Ity/Ity Flat deposits.
In parallel, initial drilling also took place on several other exploration targets in the vicinity of the Ity mine and the Le Plaque discovery, which was announced earlier this year. This exploration programme will be pursued during the second half of 2017, following the integration of pending analysis results.
Compared to the resource inventory used to build the 2016 feasibility study, a total of 1.5 Moz of indicated resources were added, with the main increases coming from the discovery of Bakatouo (+704 000 oz), and additional Indicated resources outlined at Daapleu (+384 000 oz), Mont Ity / Flat (+189 000 oz), and Verse Ouest (+187 000 oz).
Other nearby targets
In the first half of the year, initial exploration drilling, for which the results are still pending, also took place on several other exploration targets in the vicinity of the Ity mine and on the Le Plaque discovery which was announced earlier this year.
This area, located within 5 km from the current Ity mining complex, represents a small portion of the 80 km corridor controlled by Endeavour.
This exploration programme will be pursued in the fourth quarter 2017, after the end of the rainy season and the integration of pending analysis results, with the main focus on delineating a maiden Inferred Resource at the Le Plaque discovery.
“Our exploration team has done exceptional work over the past months which has led to a significant increase in the resource base at Ity ahead of the optimisation study,” says Endeavour Mining, executive VP of exploration and growth Patrick Bouisset.
“These results and the numerous other identified targets, on which initial drilling reconnaissance is currently being conducted, further demonstrate the prospective nature of the greater Ity area and our confidence in delivering against our 5-year exploration strategy disclosed last November.
“We believe that the 80 km Ity corridor that we control is among the most prospective areas in West Africa and we look forward to building on our exploration success,” says Bouisset.
Sébastien de Montessus, president and CEO of Endevour Mining says that under Bouisset’s leadership, Ity has been transformed from a 20-year operation nearing the end of its life into an asset that now has the potential to be one of our flagship operations.
“Our ability to quickly grow the indicated resource demonstrates the robustness of Ity, as well as the quality of our exploration team. We now look forward to announcing the results of the optimisation study and making a formal investment decision in September, following which we will transition the construction team from Houndé to Ity later this year,” he says.
Exploration activities in the second half of 2017 will focus on follow-up extension drilling on existing deposits, delineating a maiden resource at the recently discovered Le Plaque area, and drilling several other near-mine exploration targets.