Asanko Gold Inc. has provided an update on the development of the Esaase Project, which belongs to the multi-pit Asanko Gold Mine (AGM), situated in Ghana, West Africa. The AGM is a 50:50 joint venture (JV) with Gold Fields Ltd which is run and operated by Asanko.
- Esaase bulk sampling successfully completed in Q4 2018
- Mined 95,899 tons @ 1.2 g/ton in January 2019 @ 0.5g/ton cut-off grade
- Trial mining operations at Esaase began in January 2019, as scheduled
- Development decision by JV partners to continue with Esaase development expected Q2 2019
- Updated NI 43-101 likely in Q2 2019
The large-scale Esaase deposit provides an exciting near-term organic growth opportunity for the business. Ahead of a decision by the JV partners on the full-scale development plan in Q2 2019, it was appropriate to undertake a bulk sampling and trial mining operation and use the production and technical data to augment the updated Life of Mine plan. We are very encouraged by the results from the bulk sample and the trial mining so far, with the oxides performing well in the mill, throughput is exceeding expectations and gold recovery is in line with current levels experienced from other feed sources.
Peter Breese, President and CEO, Asanko Gold Inc.
Trial Mining Operation
Esaase is a significant permitted greenfields deposit situated approximately 27 km from the processing facility. A bulk sample was mined and processed via the central processing unit during Q4 2018, with the Esaase material performing beyond expectations. The pilot mining operation, which began in January 2019 and will carry on until end of June 2019, is concentrated on mining the surface oxides of the deposit. Mining is limited to day shift only, with marginal blasting, and the material is being trucked to the processing unit via the recently commissioned haul road.
Mining rates are projected to approximate 350,000-400,000 tons per month in this time frame. Pre-production capital is projected at US$18 million, of which US$11 million has been used up to December 2018, and consists of mobilization of the mining contractor, preliminary infrastructure, preliminary mining works, and the construction of a section of haul road to link Esaase to the current AGM haul road network.
Esaase Long-Term Development Plan
In 2017, Asanko issued a Definitive Feasibility Study for the AGM, which included the progress of Esaase and visualized an overland conveyor to convey the ore from Esaase to the processing unit as part of the Project 5 Million (P5M) growth project. The Esaase mine, the haul road, and the overland conveyor are permitted.
After the JV transaction with Gold Fields, which ended in July 2018, the JV partners commenced a comprehensive review of the proposed Esaase development plan and related long-term ore transportation solution. This comprised of a program of in-fill reverse circulation drilling and re-logging of historical core which has helped to correctly comprehend the geological controls to mineralization. All the new data is being added into updated Mineral Resource and Reserve Estimates.
Furthermore, other technical aspects such as the hydrogeological, geotechnical, and metallurgical design parameters have also been re-assessed, integrating the latest production data from the bulk sampling and trial mining process. This, along with the updated Mineral Resource and Reserve Estimates, will lead to an updated LoM plan that will confirm the best ore transportation solution and related capital cost that will form the foundation of the 2019 long term development plan for Esaase. This will be showcased to the JV partners for a development decision in Q2 2019.
Qualified Person Statement
Frederik Fourie, Asanko Senior Mining Engineer (Pr.Eng) is the Asanko Qualified Person, as indicated by Canadian National Instrument 43-101 (Standards of Mineral Disclosure), who has allowed the preparation of the technical contents of this news release.