ASX-listed Resolute Mining reports that it has finalised an update (Study Update) to its 2016 Feasibility Study on its Bibiani gold mine in Ghana following the receipt of an Environmental Permit Authorisation (EPA) to recommission the mine. According to Resolute, the Study Update “demonstrates potential for a long life, high margin project” and confirms that Bibiani presents a “compelling growth opportunity” for the company.
Underground portal at Bibiani (photo: Resolute).
The study estimates a start-up capital requirement of approximately US$75 million and total project capital of US$115 million. The project capital figure includes US$42 million for the purchase of a mining fleet. The initial development of the underground mine is planned to be undertaken by a contractor, diminishing the initial capital requirement and ensuring prompt access to ore.
“Resolute continues to progress the opportunity to recommission Bibiani. We are honouring our commitments to the Ghanaian government and being highly disciplined in our pursuit of value creation for all stakeholders,” comments John Welborn, MD and CEO of Resolute. “Receipt of our environmental permitting is a significant step in the pathway towards turning the mine back on. Bibiani has produced approximately four million ounces of gold over a long history and is a regionally important gold mine providing important economic and social benefits to the local population.
“Our Study Update demonstrates that the mine can meet our thresholds of producing 100 000 ounces of gold a year over a ten-year mine life at an All-In Sustaining Cost in the region of US$750 per ounce. We will now focus on an operational readiness programme with the intention of making a final investment decision during 2019. A positive decision will only be made on the basis of a complete and compelling recommissioning plan supported by a functional operational readiness plan, all required approvals, a clear funding strategy, and the availability of Resolute’s project team. Bibiani is a key contributor to our goal of establishing Resolute as a 500 000 oz per annum producer.”
It is envisaged that the main mining method at Bibiani will be long hole open stoping (LHOS) with pillars. This method will be applied to the majority of the mining areas where the stope blocks are less continuous, occur in multiple lodes and vary in width. In the lower southern portion of the mine, there is a large continuous block of ore at a lower cut-off grade of approximately 2 g/t Au, with widths of up to 25 m. In this area, the sublevel shrink method is preferred. This method is currently used at Resolute’s Mt Wright mine at Ravenswood in Queensland, Australia.
The Bibiani ore processing plant was designed and operated at a rate to suit the open-cut mining programme at the time. To match the proposed mine ore production rate, the processing plant will be modified to treat ore at a nominal rate of 1,1 Mt/a.
Bibiani is situated approximately 80 km south-west of Kumasi and has been in intermittent production since the early 1900s. It has passed through the hands of a number of companies including Ashanti Goldfields, which acquired Bibiani in the mid-1990s and redeveloped the mine as an open-pit operation with a modern processing plant. It also developed a trackless decline to provide access to the underground workings for resource estimation and exploration work.