Burkina Faso gold miner West African Resources expects to complete a scoping study on a second underground project at its flagship Sanbrado operation this year.
It started diamond drilling in the December quarter under the southern end of Sanbrado’s M5 openpit as part of work aimed at investigating the potential for a new portal off the base of the pit to complement the site’s existing M1 underground.
Reserve definition drilling in the M1 South area continued to return excellent results for WAF in the latest quarter, including 25m grading 90.17 grams per tonne gold and 24m at 38.56gpt.
The company said previous surface drilling to about 400m depth on M5 highlighted “good continuity” of a high-grade core of gold mineralisation along strike and down dip.
Early modelling of selective underground mining based on available drill results showed “positive results” from a high-level simulation. WAF said the scoping study “to better investigate the potential of establishing an underground mine at M5” would involve infill drilling aimed at defining more high-grade mineralisation and upgrading inferred resources between 200m-400m depth in underground study area, plus examination of alternative mining methods and backfilling techniques, mining rates, geotechnical studies and geohydrological studies.
WAF produced 229,224 ounces of gold at AISC of US$1086/oz at Sanbrado in 2022 and is targeting more than 400,000ozpa from 2025 with the addition of a second mine at Kiaka, south of Sanbrado.
It awarded the Kiaka EPCM contract to Lycopodium and the SAG and ball mill package to Metso Outotec during the December quarter, and started site earthworks late in the period.
ASX-listed WAF has a current market value around A$1.18 billion.