New gold mine in Côte d’Ivoire ramping up

Perseus Mining (ASX,TSX:PRU) will soon start pouring gold from its Sissingué gold mine in Côte d’Ivoire, having delivered the first crushed ore to the mill and processing plant earlier this month.

Dual-listed Perseus already has a producing mine, the Edikan gold mine in Ghana, which comprises a group of large gold deposits located in the Ashanti gold belt. The Sissingué mine would be the company's second producing asset; the project is located southeast of the 7Moz Morila gold mine and northwest of the 4.3Moz Tongon deposit. It is estimated to produce 358,000 ounces over the 5-year life of mine, including 80,000 annually for the first three and a quarter years, and around 70,000 oz each year throughout its lifespan.

It is estimated to produce 358,000 ounces over the 5-year life of mine

“We are looking forward very much to starting gold production later in January 2018 and to seeing Sissingué ramp-up to full-scale production and positive cash flow by the end of the March quarter,” Perseus CEO Jeff Quartermaine said in a news release. “At that point, Perseus will be transformed from a single mine, single country business to a multi-mine, multi-jurisdiction operation and we will be well on the way to achieving our goal of producing in excess of 500,000 oz of gold per year from late-2021 from our three West African operations, namely Edikan, Sissingué, and Yaouré.” A feasibility study on Yaouré was announced in November.

Capital costs at Sissingué are estimated at US$107 million. Once in operation cash costs are estimated at US$625 per ounce for the first 3.25 years and $630 for life of mine.

Côte d’Ivoire is under-rated as a mining jurisdiction compared to neighbouring Mali, which is Africa's third biggest gold producer. According to a recent report by BMI Research, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali are expected to show mining growth of 15.6% and 10% respectively, between 2017 and 2021. In November the Mali government said it expected to beat anticipated 2017 gold production.

BMI names a new mining code introduced in 2014, strong infrastructure growth, and the country's drive to become a West African power hub, among factors that would allow Côte d’Ivoire's mining industry to grow.

Recent developments include Endeavour Mining's (TSX:EDV) discovery in 2016 at the Ity gold mine which could extend the mine's life by 10 years, and the uncovering of a 17-kilometre-long trend the same year by Toro Gold and Predictive Discovery; the two companies have a joint venture (JV) to operate 4 exploration permits.

In November Endeavour and Randgold Resources (LON:RRS) created an exploration JV covering their adjacent Sissedougou and Mankono exploration properties located in the northern region of Côte d'Ivoire. A $3.8 million exploration campaign was approved for the remainder of 2017 and 2018.