West African gold explorer Tietto Minerals (ASX: TIE) has announced the appointment of Matthew Wilcox as chief operating officer to drive the development of its 3 million-ounce Abujar gold project in Cote d’Ivoire.
Most recently, Mr Wilcox directly managed the construction of West African Resources’ (ASX: WAF) 300,000-ounces-per-annum Sanbrado gold mine, which was completed in Burkina Faso under budget and ahead of schedule last March.
Tietto managing director Dr Caigen Wang described Mr Wilcox as having an “amazing track record of developing and delivering mines”.
“We are confident he can replicate the milestones he achieved with West African’s Sanbrado mine with our project,” he said.
Gold mining construction experience
According to Tietto, Mr Wilcox is highly experienced in West Africa’s gold mining construction industry, having spent eight years prior working for UK-based Nordgold, which operates nine gold mines including three in Burkina Faso and one in Guinea.
In particular, he was the project director for the construction of Nordgold’s 4 million-tonnes-per-annum Bissa gold project and its 8Mtpa Bouly gold project in Burkina Faso. He also held the position of general manager of the 6Mtpa LEFA gold project in Guinea.
Prior to joining West African Resources, Mr Wilcox was the project director for the construction of Nordgold’s 12Mtpa Gross gold project in Siberia, Russia.
Abujar PFS on track for delivery this quarter
In December, Tietto announced it had obtained a mining licence for its 3.02Moz Abujar gold project from Cote d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Energy. It is currently negotiating the mining convention for the project, which is expected in the first half of 2021.
The company has begun US$2.5 million (A$3.25 million) of early site works at the project including site access upgrades, a power line corridor survey, camp improvements and the purchase of long-lead items in anticipation of the approval and completion of the pre-feasibility study, which remains on track for delivery in the current quarter.
Tietto has also kicked off a 70,000m drilling program with up to six rigs expected to complete as much as 11,000m of drilling per month.
The drilling program is targeting multiple new and existing prospects with the aim of growing resources on the Abujar tenement, which hosts the 2.3Moz AG deposit – the planned focus of Tietto’s future mining operation.
“We are methodically and systematically moving Abujar through the development stages and bringing a candidate with Matthew’s calibre and experience on board will only serve to boost our capabilities,” Dr Wang said.
Tietto is well funded to deliver its project milestones, having ended 2020 with more than $57 million cash to hand.