Fortuna Silver Mines has signed an option deal with Turaco Gold, securing the possibility to acquire an 80% stake in five granted exploration permits constituting the Tongon North Project in northern Cote d’Ivoire.

Fortuna, a West African gold producer with a market capitalisation of $888.1m, will have to make an initial payment of $100,000 to Turaco for the option.

In order to fully exercise the option, Fortuna is required to invest a minimum of $3.5m in the project over the next three years.

If Fortuna decides to exercise the option, Turaco can choose to either co-venture with Fortuna, maintaining a 20% interest, or sell its remaining stake for $1.5m in cash.

Fortuna is obligated to spend at least $1.25m on the Tongon North Project before it can allow the option to lapse.

This agreement expands Fortuna’s footprint in the region, adding to a portfolio that includes the Seguela Gold Mine in Cote d’Ivoire, the Yaramoko Gold Mine in Burkina Faso and the recently acquired Diamba Sud Gold Project in Senegal.

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Turaco Gold managing director Justin Tremain said: “The granting of an option over the Tongon North Project to Fortuna is consistent with Turaco’s steadfast commitment and focus on the Afema Gold Project in south-east Cote d’Ivoire.

“Turaco is likely to further rationalise its northern Cote d’Ivoire projects but will retain the Eburnea Gold Project, which includes the 100%-owned Satama greenfield gold discovery.”

Fortuna also released its financial results for the fourth quarter (Q4) and full year ended 31 December 2023.

In the reported quarter, the company posted an attributable net loss of $92.3m after non-cash impairment charges of $90.6m, with an attributable net loss of $50.8m for the full year 2023.

Its attributable adjusted net income was $20.6m in Q4 2023, and $64.9m for the full year 2023.

The company generated $105.1m in net cash from operations in the latest quarter.

In Q4 2023, Fortuna reported a record gold production of 107,376oz and silver production of 1.35 million ounces.