Australian firm Perseus Mining has secured approval from its board of directors for the development of the Yaouré Gold Mine in Côte d’Ivoire, the company’s third gold project, with capital costs of $265m.

Recently, the company’s Ivorian subsidiary, Perseus Yaouré, secured an exploitation permit from the Government of Côte d’Ivoire.

The company has also confirmed a funding plan that includes a $150m revolving credit facility, and $121m of existing cash and bullion, including $40m of cash recently obtained from the underwritten exercise of warrants, as well as future cashflows from the Edikan and Sissingué gold mines.

Perseus is expected to execute engineering and supply contracts with engineering company Lycopodium with which it had collaborated in the past, including the development of Sissingué Gold Mine, also in Côte d’Ivoire.

Perseus CEO and managing director Jeff Quartermaine said: “A large amount of effort has gone into preparation and planning of the development of Yaouré and with the experience that our team developed from the successful execution of the Sissingué Mine development plan, we are confident that Yaouré will also be developed on time and on budget and in the process further establish Perseus’s reputation as a reliable and capable developer and operator of gold mines in West Africa.”

Lycopodium, which secured a notice of award for the engineering and supply contracts in January 2019, has worked with Perseus’s in-house development team towards commencement of full-scale development.

During this period, detailed engineering has also been taken up, and supply contracts, including a contract with Outotec for the SAG and Ball mills, have been conditionally awarded to suppliers of plant and equipment for the processing facility.

“We are confident that Yaouré will also be developed on time and on budget.”

The first gold is expected to be poured at Yaouré by January 2021, although the company is considering a “stretch target” involving an earlier gold pour in December 2020.

Tendering of civil work for site preparation is expected to be completed in May, which will allow enabling work to be completed.

A committee comprising representatives of the Ivorian departments of Mining, Finance, Budget and Environment will hold negotiations with Perseus for a mining convention, which is expected to be finalised and executed in the September 2019 quarter.

Perseus also plans to reactivate exploration activities adjacent to the proposed mine site, and advance work to delineate further mineralisation that can be mined from below the proposed CMA open pit.