The Doropo gold project will be developed as an open-pit mining operation. Credit: Jason Benz Bennee/
The project is estimated to process up to 5.5Mt of ore a year. Credit: Adwo/
The project will utilise carbon-in-leach (CIL) methods to recover gold. Credit: Adwo/

Doropo is an open-pit gold mine planned to be developed in north-eastern Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa, by UK-based gold mining company Centamin.

The pre-feasibility study (PFS) for the project was completed in June 2023 while work on the definitive feasibility study (DFS) is currently underway and is expected to be completed, along with environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA), in the first half of 2024.

The PFS highlighted an average annual production of 173,000oz of gold for a period of ten years with an estimated capital investment of $349m.

Doropo gold project location

The Doropo gold project is in the Bounkani region of Cote d’Ivoire, approximately 50km north of Bouna and 480km north of the capital city, Abidjan.

The project encompasses seven exploration permits covering a total area of 1,850km2.

As many as 13 gold deposits have been identified within the permit area. The deposits are named Souwa, Nokpa, Chegue Main, Chegue South, Tchouahinin, Kekeda, Han, Enioda, Hinda, Nare, Kilosegui, Attire, and Vako.

Geology and mineralisation of the Doropo project

The Doropo property lies within the tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite (TTG) orthogneiss suite, which is bounded by the Boromo-Batie greenstones belt in Burkina Faso to the east and the Tehini- Hounde greenstone belt to the west.

The geology of the area is dominated by medium to coarsely grained granite-gneiss of granodioritic composition.

Gold mineralisation at Doropo is hosted in discrete structurally controlled zones of intense silica-sericite alteration, within and along the margins of narrow shear zones.

Gold reserves at Doropo

The proven and probable mineral reserves at Doropo were estimated at 40.55 million tonnes (mt) grading 1.44g per tonne of gold, as of June 2023.

Mining and processing at Doropo

The Doropo gold project is proposed to be developed as a contractor-operated, conventional open-pit mining operation employing drill, blast, load and haul methods to deliver up to 5.4mt of run-of-mine (ROM) ore with a waste-to-ore strip ratio of 4.1:1.

The ROM ore will be hauled to a 5.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) processing plant, where it will undergo crushing via a primary jaw crusher and grinding in a semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill followed by a closed-circuit ball mill.

The target grind size will be 75 microns for fresh ore and 106 microns for oxide and transition ore.

The milled ore will be fed into a carbon-in-leach (CIL) circuit, while a gravity circuit will be used to recover any native/free gold from the milling circuit.

Within the CIL circuit, gold particles from the leached solution will be adsorbed onto loaded carbon columns and recovered through elution and electrowinning.

The recovered gold will be smelted in a furnace to produce gold dore bars.

Site infrastructure at Doropo

The project site is accessible via the A1 national road, which connects Abidjan with Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou. The road crosses through the centre of the project area.

The power required for the project will be sourced from the Cote d’Ivoire national grid via the existing Bouna substation located 55km south-east of the project.

Other infrastructure at the site will include a 41mt dry tailings storage facility (TSF), a water storage/harvest dam, an airstrip, and haul access roads.

Contractors involved

Orelogy Mine Consulting provided the mineral reserves estimate for the project. Cube Consulting performed geological studies and provided mineral resource estimates.

Canadian consulting firm Knight Piesold performed the site infrastructure study, including the TSF, water storage facility and haul roads while ECG Consulting was responsible for the power supply and distribution studies.

Earth Systems and H&B Consulting prepared the baseline ESIA for the project.

Australia-based engineering solutions provider Lycopodium Minerals performed the metallurgical studies and provided the process design and operating cost estimates for the project.

SRK Consulting provided the open-pit geotechnical design while Piteau Associates, a wholly owned subsidiary of US-based engineering and consultancy services company Tetra Tech, performed the hydrological, hydrogeological and geochemical studies for the Doropo gold project.