Emerging Cote d’Ivoire gold producer Tietto Minerals (ASX: TIE) has now obtained a key permit for its 3 million ounce Abujar gold project with the issue of a mining licence.
The company says it is now poised to bring into production West Africa’s next gold mine.
The licence, issued by the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Energy, covers an area of 120.36km in central western Cote d’Ivoire.
Tietto’s total land holding is 1,114sq km.
There is now one remaining formality: the mining convention.
Tietto says it will be working with the Ivorian Government early in the new year to agree on terms and conditions of the convention.
70,000 drill program under way
The company added that it is well funded to deliver project milestones with $60 million in cash on hand.
Managing director Caigen Wang says work on the prefeasibility study remains on track and will be completed in the first quarter of 2021.
Diamond drill rigs have begun a 70,000m program and, so far, more than 1,500 samples are awaiting lab assays.
“Exploration drilling continues to ramp up following completion of the Cote d’Ivoire general election and we look forward to reporting results in coming weeks and months from this aggressive program designed to grow [the] Abujar gold resources at extremely low drilling costs,” said Mr Wang.
In October the company received environmental approvals for the project.
Tietto’s board had already 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.
Africa’s ninth largest gold producer
Cote d’Ivoire, which in 2020 marked its 60th year of independence from France, is an increasingly important gold producer in West Africa.
Last year the largest five mines there produced between them 1.14Moz and the country is the ninth biggest African producer.
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.
The pre-feasibility study will focus on the company’s hopes for a large scale 3.5Mt per annum open pit mining operation.
The company’s top five shareholders include Hongkong Ausino Investment (9.87%), Inner Mongolia Geological and Exploration, and Hong Kong Gondwana Resources.