West African Resources (WAF) has secured the Toega mining permit approval, a crucial step towards commencing operations at the Toega open-pit gold deposit.

The Burkina Faso Council of Ministers recommended the issuance of the permit on 20 March; it will be valid for an initial eight-year period.

This is said to be the last significant operating permit needed to start mining at the Toega open-pit gold deposit.

The permit will be issued to a company 90% owned by WAF and 10% by the state, in line with the country’s Mining Code.

The Toega gold deposit hosts resources of 1.27 million ounces (oz) and reserves of 569,000oz. It is set to provide eight years of ore feed to the company’s Sanbrado process plant, with mining expected to begin in 2025.

This follows the environmental permit granted in 2023 after the government’s review and acceptance of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and Resettlement Action Plan.

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Additionally, on the same day, the Council of Ministers recommended the renewal of the Sanbrado mining permit for another five years.

The Sanbrado gold project is forecast to produce between 190,000oz and 210,000oz of gold in 2024 at an All-In Sustaining Cost of less than $1,300/oz.

Over the next decade, Sanbrado is expected to average more than 210,000oz of gold production annually, increasing to more than 230,000oz per annum with the addition of the Toega open-pit project and the projected M5 South underground operations from 2026.

West African executive chairman and CEO Richard Hyde said: “WAF continues to demonstrate its ability to operate effectively and sustainably in Burkina Faso and deliver on its business strategy.

“Mining at Toega will provide eight years of ore feed for Sanbrado, and bring taxes, jobs and other economic benefits to Burkina Faso and the communities surrounding Sanbrado and Toega. We look forward to bringing the Toega open-pit deposit online after we commence gold production at our 7.9 million-ounce Kiaka gold project.

“With the Toega mining permit in place, and the development of the Kiaka gold project tracking on schedule and on budget, we are steadily progressing our strategy of doubling WAF’s annual gold production to over 400,000oz per year by 2025.”