West Africa-focused gold miner Roxgold (TSX: ROXG; US-OTC: ROGFF) has added near-surface, open-pittable reserves and resources to its mineral inventory at its underground Yaramoko mine complex in Burkina Faso. The company released a resource and reserve update, which shows net ounce growth at the site, after mining depletion.
With the latest additions, Roxgold has 820,000 tonnes of probable reserves, at 7.2 grams gold per tonne, which contain 190,000 oz. gold, in the open-pit category above the operating 55 Zone underground mine. These are made up of material that forms the crown pillar, remnant halo mineralization and includes sub-parallel structures to the main 55 Zone structure. According to the company, these would support an open pit operation once the 55 Zone underground mine is complete and extend the total mine life of the 55 Zone.
Underground reserves at the 55 Zone mine stand at 1.6 million tonnes grading 7 grams gold for 365,000 contained ounces. Further underground reserves at Bagassi South underground add 576,000 tonnes at 7.6 grams gold for another 141,000 oz. gold.
The combined reserves are within total measured and indicated resources of 2.7 million tonnes grading 10 grams gold containing 857,000 oz. gold. Further inferred resources add 556,000 tonnes at 6.8 grams gold for an additional 121,000 oz. gold.
The latest underground reserves are based on cutoff grades between 2.8 grams gold and 3.1 grams gold; open-pit reserves are derived from a 0.9 gram gold cutoff.
According to Roxgold president and chief executive John Dorward, the update speaks to the potential of the Yaramoko complex and sets the stage for further mine life extensions.
“Since starting production in 2016, the Yaramoko mine complex has poured over 575,000 ounces of gold and continues to demonstrate its ability to replace production and maintain a long mine life,” Dorward said in a statement. “With today’s announcement, we are planning for an open-pit operation with a reserve grade of over 7 g/t to complement the high-grade underground operation and extend the mine life at the 55 Zone.”
Dorward also explained that these initial open pit additions are the first phase of Roxgold’s plans to extend the Yaramoko mine life. This month, the company started a 14,500-metre underground drill program at the 55 Zone, focused on upgrading and extending resources at depth. These results will be part of the company’s annual resource and reserve update, expected in 2021.
“Extending the mine life at Yaramoko has long been a priority for us and between the success of near-surface drilling program, together with our recently commenced underground drilling program and the prioritization of regional exploration targets, I am confident that we will build a compelling body of evidence over the coming quarters to showcase the long-life nature of Yaramoko.”
In terms of regional exploration, this year, Roxgold has identified early-stage opportunities for drilling. Priority targets lie along the mapped western trend of the 55 Zone and Bagassi South areas. The initial exploration work will target near-surface oxide material.
Roxgold expects its 1,100-tonne-per-day Yaramoko mine complex (which is made up of the 55 Zone and Bagassi South underground mines) to produce 120,000 to 130,000 oz. gold in 2020, at all-in sustaining costs of US$930-$990 per ounce.
In addition to Yaramoko, the company also holds the pre-development Seguela gold project in Cote d’Ivoire as well as the exploration-stage Boussoura gold project in Burkina Faso.
In the last year, Roxgold has traded in a range of 56¢ and $1.92 per share, and at press time was trading at $1.70 per share. It has 373 million common shares outstanding for a $633-million market capitalization.