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Successful extension exploration drilling programmes, mine design improvements, and optimisation of mine scheduling work undertaken at gold producer Resolute Mining’s Mako gold mine in Senegal has resulted in material improvements to an updated life of mine plan.

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The updated LOM has generated a 39% increase in total gold production and a mine life extension of two further years of production.

The original mine plan at Mako at the time of its development consisted of a seven-year mine life expected to produce 890 000 oz of gold.

Mako is now expected to have a total mine life of nine years and produce a total of 1.24 Moz of gold. Production over the next five years will average 140 000 ozpa of gold. Expected average LOM all-in-sustaining cost (AISC) has been updated to US$848/oz.

Including 2020, Resolute now expects to mine a further 900 000 oz of gold from Mako until early 2027 at an expected average AISC over this period of US$900/oz.

“Mako has proved to be an outstanding Resolute gold mine. This initial extension of the mine life at Mako will be further reinforced by our investment in the significant untested exploration potential of the region,” says Resolute Mining MD and CEO John Welborn.

“We are delighted to increase total mine production and extend the mine life at Mako which will expand the economic benefits the mine provides to the local communities and broader population of Senegal,” he added.

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The updated LOM requires higher rates of waste stripping from 2022 to 2024 to expose ore in the deeper portions of the open pit and secure the extensions of mine life out to early 2027. In most other respects the mine plan is consistent with the original mine plan. A key enhancement has been the increase in processing rates from 1.8 Mtpa to 2.2 Mtpa, which has resulted in reduced costs and enabled accelerated production in 2019 and 2020 in addition to future years.

At the start of 2020, Resolute expected to produce a further 700 000 oz of gold from Mako at an average AISC of US$840/oz. Based on the updated LOM, and including 2020, Resolute now expects to mine a further 900 000 oz of gold from Mako until early 2027 at an expected average AISC over this period of US$900 per ounce.

Potential for further discovery and additional mine life extensions

Exploration activity at Mako in 2020 has been limited due to COVID19 restrictions.

Exploration programmes are expected to recommence in the near term. Most immediately, the intersections reported above from the north-eastern end of the Mako open pit will be followed up to outline the full extent of this zone. In addition, a programme of reverse circulation drilling is planned to evaluate the Tomboronkoto prospect, which is located 15 km south east of Mako.

A more comprehensive regional exploration program is being designed to test new targets on satellite prospects contained in Resolute’s regional tenement package. In addition, the potential for new joint ventures or acquisitions of prospective ground within trucking distance to Mako continues to be evaluated.

Resolute will continue to work to further enhance LOM outcomes at Mako.