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Pit wall collapses at Avesoro’s New Liberty mine in Liberia

The acquisition of New Liberty mine in 2016, brought about a massive change to the scale of Avesoro – adding much needed gold ounces to its production – but also acting as the next phase of growth for the ambitious gold miner. (Image courtesy of Avesoro Resources.)

Avesoro Resources (TSX, AIM: ASO) said Thursday that a pit wall collapse and ramp failure at its New Liberty gold mine in Liberia has forced the company to halt production and will continue to affect output “for some time”.

The accident, which took place on Oct. 1 at the Kinjor pit, left no fatalities or damage equipment, Avesoro said. Mining activities have been suspended at that section of the mine and an assessment of the impact is underway.

The West Africa-focused gold miner noted that operations at the Marvoe and Kinjor-South pits continued as usual.

The failure at New Liberty is the latest operational difficulty for the miner, which has also reported issues at its Youga gold mine in Burkina Faso.

The failure at New Liberty is the latest operational difficulty for the miner, which has also reported issues at its Youga gold mine in Burkina Faso.

In August, the company reported that an armed group of artisanal miners broke into the facility to steal ore. One of the intruders was killed by a security guard and a number of heavy mining equipment, haul trucks and excavators were vandalized beyond repair.

Government security forces currently remain on at the Youga mine in order to protect the company’s assets.

Avesoro, which has a track record of not only successfully building low cost mining operations, but also turning around non-performing assets, has experienced rapid growth to date.

The company’s plan is to become a larger 500,000-ounces gold producer in the next two to three years, and it intends to achieve this goal through a combination of organic and inorganic growth — mergers or acquisitions.

The junior, however, recently had to cut annual output guidance for both the Youga and New Liberty mines by 30,000 ounces because of operational challenges experienced earlier in the year. As a result, Avesoro’s gold production and cost guidance for the full year 2019 remains under review.