West Africa-focused explorer Tietto Minerals (ASX: TIE) has delivered a “compelling” definitive feasibility study (DFS) for its flagship Abujar gold project, confirming its potential to become one of the largest producing mines in Côte d’Ivoire.
The study’s estimated operating costs show it will be a conventional, low cost, high margin operation, with an average life of mine (LOM) gold recovery of just under 96%.
Strong financial results have been demonstrated across a full suite of gold prices including LOM revenue of US$2.87 billion, LOM pre-tax cashflow of US$1.28 billion and a pre-production capital requirement of US$200 million including contingencies (a decrease of 13% on pre-feasibility figures).
New forecast production figures for Abujar look set to position the project as a tier one gold mine, with Tietto targeting 260,000 ounces in the first year from a proposed 4 million tonnes per annum open pit (representing a 30% increase on pre-feasibility figures).
Total production of 1.2Moz has been forecast over the first six years for a yield of 200,000oz gold per year (representing a 20% increase).
Updated open pit probable ore reserves have grown to 34.4Mt at 1.3 grams per tonne gold for 1.45Moz using an all-in-sustaining-cost of US$1,407/oz (a 68% increase) while life-of-mine mining inventory inclusive of ore reserves of 44.9Mt grading 1.2g/t for 1.7Moz gold recovered (a 54% increase).
Tietto said the DFS metrics are “clearly compelling”, with pre-feasibility measures from production through to finance having “materially improved” following a recent update to the project’s resource model.
In July, Tietto announced that Abujar now hosts 3.35Moz gold, underpinned by a global resource of 87.5Mt at 1.2g/t.
The company expects to further increase the numbers as it drill tests a host of underground targets and regional prospects within 10km of trucking distance to the proposed Abujar mill.
It has engaged minerals consultancy Entech to review an underground scoping study for the AG deposit using pit limits outlined in the DFS.
A program of metallurgical testwork is underway on samples from the APG deposit to assess its suitability to provide feed for a potential heap leaching circuit.
Tietto said it would also examine whether the Abujar mill throughput could increase above DFS levels once the plant is operational.
Feed for the proposed mill will be sourced from the primary AG and APG deposits, with AG believed to provide “the majority of value” to the operation.
The mill will comprise a conventional SAG circuit, gravity and carbon-in-leach processing with a throughput capacity of 4.0Mtpa fresh ore.
Construction is expected to take 12 months, followed by approximately 11 years of mining and 10.9 years of processing.
Tietto’s mining and processing strategy aims to prioritise the higher grade mineralisation to generate significant early cashflow.
Tietto hopes to further improve the DFS numbers through continued large-scale drilling once Abujar comes on stream.
The company will carry out 5,000m of deep drilling to target underground potential below the ore reserve pit design at the AG core before year end; as well as a 30,000m infill program to delineate measured resources during the first two years of production.
Managing director Dr Caigen Wang said the project was on track to deliver first gold in late 2022.
“We are confident [this project] will continue to enjoy a growth in resources and reserves and life-of-mine production increases into next year through our continued drilling,” he said.
“We are focused on advancing Abujar towards becoming West Africa’s next gold mine.”