Spanish mining contracting giant EPSA Internacional has been chosen by Tietto Minerals (ASX: TIE) to develop an open pit operation at the company’s Abujar gold project in Cote d’Ivoire.
EPSA was the preferred mining contractor after a tender period and will start work on the site in July, ahead of open pit mining which is scheduled to begin the following month.
The scope of work covered by the mining contract includes site preparation, drill and blast, load and haul, and maintenance works.
Tietto says that construction at Abujar is progressing on time and on budget, with first gold expected in the December quarter this year.
Contractor comes with 55 years’ experience
Madrid-based EPSA has previous experience in Cote d’Ivoire with an Australian company.
In 2019, Perseus Mining (ASX: PRU) signed EPSA to develop its Yaoure gold project, located 150km east of Abujar.
EPSA recently won a major contract at the Isaac Plains coal mine operated by Stanmore Resources (ASX: SMR).
Previously, in 2012 EPSA has formed a partnership here in Australia with veteran mining contractor, MacKellar Mining (founded 1966) to form MacKellar EPSA.
EPSA undertook its first contract — digging a canal — in 1967 when it comprised a staff of five people.
In 1975 it took a big step forward, winning a contract to build a dam in Morocco and then in 1990 expanded internationally into Mexico, Brazil and Chile.
The company has now operated in 15 countries, including major works for the Colombian coal industry.
Largest operational contract for Abujar
The open-pit mining contract is the largest operational contract for Abujar.
Tietto managing director Caigen Wang said the Spanish company was chosen as preferred tenderer following the completion of a competitive tender and due diligence process which examined safety, experience, and operational capabilities.
“We are very pleased to appoint EPSA as preferred tenderer for the open pit mining contract as the company has a strong record in the region,” Dr Wang added.
Abujar is expected to deliver a life of mine revenue of US$3.2 billion.
The mine is expected to produce 260,000oz in 2023 at an all-in sustaining cost of US$651 per ounce.