At quarter-end, development works were tracking on schedule and within budget with approximately 61% of the works completed.
The development is progressing in line with budget, with incurred expenditure to date (including US$10.4 million of early works and holding costs) totalling $67.6 million, and the forecast expenditure to complete estimated at $47.8 million.
Off-site, detailed engineering is complete, as is the procurement of all significant long lead items of plant and equipment.
On site, the construction team continues to make sound progress, with the bulk concrete works associated with the plant and installation of underground services nearing completion.
The majority of buildings including offices and the warehouse are either complete or close to completion, as is the erection of steelworks associated with the crusher and SAG mill.
The CIL tanks are being erected and the contractor responsible for the installation of the SAG mill has mobilised to site and will start work early in the September 2017 quarter.
During the quarter the airstrip, tailings dam, mine camp and work on the river intake structure were also completed. Work on the laying of piping to connect the intake facility to the water storage facility is nearing completion.
Assembly of the generators and power station control panels is nearing completion and this equipment is on schedule to be delivered to site during the December 2017 quarter.
Project funding to completion of development
During the quarter, the board of Perseus Mining approved execution of loan documentation for a US$40 million project debt facility to be provided by Macquarie Bank Limited, which is to be used to fund the development of Sissingué.
First funds are expected to be drawn by Perseus Mining in the September 2017 quarter after satisfaction of customary conditions precedent.
The technical services and human resources teams at Perseus Mining have prepared comprehensive operations readiness plans for the Sissingué operation with the objective of ensuring that following commissioning of the mine and plant, the ramp up to full scale gold production occurs as efficiently as possible.
Work started during the quarter on the recruitment of key members of the site operations team, some of whom will be actively involved in the later stages of construction and commissioning of the plant.
A number of key contracts were awarded by Perseus Mining during the quarter to suppliers of critical goods and services for the Sissingué operation, including the mining contract that was awarded to Société de Forage et de Travaux Public – Mining SA (“SFTP”).
SFTP is an experienced Malian mining contractor that currently provides contract mining services to Newcrest Mining’s Bonikro gold mine and Randgold Resources’ Tongon gold mine, both located in Côte d’Ivoire.
SFTP was also contracted by Perseus to carry out the bulk earthworks associated with the construction of Sissingué’s tailings storage facility, completing this task on time and on budget.
Grade control drilling, to be performed by SFTP as part of the mining contract, is expected to start in the September 2017 quarter to ensure that approximately three months of grade control data is available for Perseus Mining’s mine planning purposes before SFTP commences full scale mining activities on site in the December 2017 quarter.
Perseus Mining has also executed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Gendarmerie of Côte d’Ivoire that provides for a number of gendarmes to be permanently stationed in facilities constructed by Perseus Mining and located adjacent to the mine site for the purposes of maintaining peace and public order as well as ensuring the safety of both Ivorian citizens and foreigners resident in the area on a 24/7 basis.