The Endeavour Mining board has given its approval for the company's Ity circuit/carbon-in-leach (CIL) project at its mine in Cote d'Ivoire, with an initial capital cost of $412m following positive results from its optimisation study. 

Based on the study is said to be an improvement over the previously completed feasibility study, the project has a mine life of 14 years and current reserves of 2.9Moz, representing an increase of 1Moz. 

The company conducted the studies in order to evaluate the economic feasibility of constructing a gravity CIL plant to replace the existing heap leach process. 

Endeavour Mining president and CEO Sébastien de Montessus said: "Today's study clearly positions Ity as our next flagship asset with robust project economics, a strong long-life production profile, and significant exploration upside. 

"The project has a mine life of 14 years and current reserves of 2.9 million ounces, representing an increase of one million ounces."

"Its average annual production in the first five years of 235,000oz with AISC below $500/oz and an after-tax IRR of +20% even at a low gold price of $1,000 per ounce are proof of the compelling economics of the project. 

"With the upcoming first gold pour at Houndé and Ity CIL construction expected to be completed within 20 months, we remain on track to achieve our strategic milestones of becoming a +800,000oz per year gold producer with group AISC below $800 per ounce and mine lives above ten years by 2019."

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Construction on the project will last for 20 months, with the first production scheduled to commence in mid-2019. 

During the first five years, the project is expected to have an average annual production of 235,000oz, while the corresponding number for the first ten years is estimated to be 204,000oz.

Based on the optimisation study, the project is projected to have after-tax net present value (NPV) of $710m.