Emerging Cote d’Ivoire gold producer Tietto Minerals (ASX: TIE) has secured a SAG processing mill for its 3.02 million ounce Abujar gold project – a critical purchase given that the mill is the longest lead item required before production can begin.
Tietto describes the buy as “opportunistic” – it found a mill that was manufactured in 2008 but never used, and which has been in storage in Australia for 12 years.
The company saved approximately US$3.5 million (A$4.5 million) by not buying a new mill, knocking down the overall capital cost, for which developing Abujar has been estimated at US$230 million (A$296 million).
The SAG (semi-autogenous grinding) mill will be shipped to Johannesburg for a full inspection and any required repairs.
The Mauritius-based grinding mill supplier NC International will move the mill in component form.
It will then overhaul the plant and install a new variable-voltage, variable-frequency drive, and finally issue a warranty equivalent to one which would apply to a new mill.
Mill is ‘beating heart’ of gold project
Tietto says the mill size is slightly larger that envisaged in the pre-feasibility study (PFS), but that provides new upside in terms of throughput.
The company has made a preliminary estimate that the new SAG mill will be able to process more than 4 million tonnes per annum, which should further improve the Abujar project’s economics — the PFS having worked on the basis of 3.5Mtpa.
Managing director Caigen Wang said the “opportunistic” procurement not only saved money, but increases the future mine’s milling capacity and reduces unit milling costs.
Moreover, it cut the standard mill procurement time by more than 20 weeks.
“The mill is the beating heart of the processing facility and we are delighted to have secured a mill that will boost the economics of the Abujar project at a reduced price,” Dr Wang said.
The mill upgrade is expected to finish within 28 weeks.
NCP International is described as a “leading” grinding mill supplier to the mining industry.
West Africa’s next gold mine
Tietto is now poised to bring into production West Africa’s next gold mine.
The Cote D’Ivoire’s Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Energy issued a mining licence for the project late last year, which covers an area of 120.36sq km in central western Cote d’Ivoire.
Tietto’s total land holding is 1,114sq km.
The Abujar gold project is comprised of three contiguous exploration tenements, Middle, South and North tenement, of which less than 10% has been explored.