Asanko Gold Inc. is pleased to announce the commencement of mining operations at the Akwasiso deposit, part of the Asanko Gold Mine, located in Ghana, West Africa, following approval by the Ghanaian Regulatory Authorities to commence mining.
The decision to accelerate the mining of Akwasiso ahead of Dynamite Hill is due to receipt of regulatory approval and follows the recent successful completion of an in-fill drill program that substantially increased Measured Reserves by 62% to 214,500 contained ounces of gold. In addition, the deposit is four kilometres closer to the processing facility thereby reducing transport costs and site establishment costs as well as being higher grade and larger than Dynamite Hill, enabling greater mining flexibility.
Located approximately three kilometres north east of the processing facility, Akwasiso is the largest satellite deposit and being at surface requires minimal pre-strip or development work. Mining operations will focus initially on the oxide ore, which will augment the ore feed to the existing processing facility as the volumetric upgrades come online as part of the Project 5 Million ("P5M") upgrade to 5Mtpa. In line with our Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, the mining contract has been awarded to a local Ghanaian mining contractor who has been mobilized with both road and site preparations already underway. First ore is expected to be fed to the plant in June 2017. Dynamite Hill has now been re-scheduled to commence mining in Q1 2018, in line with the original Akwasiso timing.
Full details of the mining rates, grades and strip ratio for Akwasiso will be included in the updated life of mine plan, which will be published as part of the Expansion Definitive Feasibility Study which will be released on June 5, 2017.
Peter Breese, President and CEO, commented, "With the successful in-fill drill program completed and timely approval from the regulatory authorities, it made perfect sense to accelerate Akwasiso ahead of Dynamite Hill given its proximity to the plant, lower capital costs and that it is a larger and higher grade deposit than Dynamite Hill. The local mining contractor has already mobilized to site with road construction and site preparation at an advanced stage. First ore from Akwasiso is due in June 2017 and we expect the mining and processing costs of this ore to be considerably cheaper than the current hard rock operations at Nkran.
We continue to see 2017 as a year of two halves with the true benefit of Akwasiso to be realized in H2 as we leverage the benefits of Akwasiso's oxide material through the volumetric upgrades in the processing facility that are tracking well ahead of schedule."
Asanko is also pleased to announce that the Ghanaian Environmental Protection Agency has issued the Environmental Permits for Dynamite Hill, Nkran Extension and Adubiaso Extension. Receipt of these permits completes the permitting process for these satellite deposits, which are now ready for mining operations.
- Akwasiso to be fast tracked ahead of Dynamite Hill and will commence ore mining in June 2017, following approval by the Ghanaian Regulatory Authorities.
- Decision to fast track mining of Akwasiso driven by its proximity to the processing facility, lower capital entry costs and higher oxide volumes which can be mined and processed at lower costs than current Nkran operations.
- Dynamite Hill re-scheduled to commence mining in Q1 2018, in line with the original Akwasiso timing.
- Environmental Permits received for Dynamite Hill, Nkran Extension and Adubiaso Extension.
- Expansion Definitive Feasibility Study nearing completion and will be published on June 5, 2017, along with updated life of mine plan for all 11 pits comprising the Asanko Gold Mine complex.