Emerging Cote d’Ivoire gold producer Tietto Minerals (ASX: TIE) has received environmental approval for its three million-ounce Abujar gold project.
The West African country’s Ministry or Environmental and Sustainable Development has approved Tietto’s environmental and social impact assessment covering the 120.36sq km project area in central western Cote d’Ivoire.
Tietto’s total land holding is 1,114sq km.
The company said it expects the two final government approvals — the granting of the mining permit and completion of the mining convention negotiation process — in the first half of 2021.
Tietto’s board has now approved spending of US$2.5 million (A$3.5 million) on early site works including upgrading access, camp improvement and buying long lead-time items.
On track to develop West Africa’s next gold mine
Tietto managing director Dr Caigen Wang said the environmental approvals move Abujar into the final stages of the permitting process.
“We are on track to secure our goal of developing Abujar into West Africa’s next gold mine,” he added.
The pre-feasibility study is on track for delivery in the March quarter of 2021.
Cote d’Ivoire, which in 2020 marked its sixtieth year of independence from France, is an increasingly important gold producer in West Africa.
Last year, the largest five mines there produced a combined 1.14Moz of gold and the country is now the ninth biggest African producer.
Mines there include Sissingué and Yaouré, owned by Perseus Mining (ASX: PRU).
Planning large-scale open pit mining
Tietto’s Abujar gold project is comprised of three contiguous exploration tenements, Middle, South and North tenement, of which less than 10% has been explored.
Earlier this week, the company announced a resource upgrade at the AG deposit to 3.02Moz based on 81.2 million tonnes at 1.2 grams per tonne gold.
The additional 870,000oz came at an all-in exploration cost of US$5.20 (A$7.30) per ounce.
The pre-feasibility study will focus on the company’s hopes for a large-scale 3.5Mt per annum open pit mining operation.
The AG deposit has a high-grade, near surface core of 22.8Mt at 2.18g/t, for a contained 1.6Moz gold.
Tietto has now begun a new 70,000m diamond drilling program targeting further resource growth.
It will test 8.5km of the main shear and high priority regional targets.
The company’s top five shareholders include Hongkong Ausino Investment (9.87%), Inner Mongolia Geological and Exploration, and Hong Kong Gondwana Resources.