Endeavour Mining has started first gold production from the Ity CIL project in Côte d’Ivoire, yielding about 1,800 ounces of gold under the $412m budget.
Ity CIL processed about 135,160t of ore since it was introduced into the CIL processing plant last month.
Endeavour expects the declaration of commercial production at the Ity CIL project in the second quarter of this year and plans to start performance trial testing soon.
Endeavour president and CEO Sébastien de Montessus said: “This first gold pour and the remarkably quick ramp-up period is a transformational event for Endeavour as the Ity CIL project will quickly contribute to group’s cash generation potential.
“Given its current 15-year mine life and strong exploration potential, our ability to increase the plant size by 1Mtpa (million tonnes per annum) to 5Mpta for minimal additional capex represents a very compelling investment and is in line with our focus on capital allocation efficiency and return on capital employed criteria.”
The company also launched optimisation and de-bottlenecking work which is expected to increase the plant nameplate capacity by 1Mtpa to 5Mtpa.
As part of the volumetric upsize work, Endeavour will carry out upgrades in pipes and pumps and a second 50t oxygen plant.
These plant upgrades are expected to be completed during scheduled plant maintenance shut-downs throughout the next six months.
Endeavour is planning to conduct additional works such as the construction of a fuel farm, building exploration facilities, and an additional $7m of crop compensation and resettlement related to prospective exploration grounds.
Additionally, the company has planned an $11m exploration programme including around 71,000m of drilling for this year to delineate additional resources at the Le Plaque target.
Ity CIL is expected to produce 160-200koz this year at an all-in sustaining costs ration of $525-590 /oz.