West Africa is one of the world’s premier gold producing and precious metals exploration regions, and a string of junior miners have recently announced significant developments that will ensure it stays that way for a long time to come.
According to the latest World Gold Council data, West Africa produced a total of 456.1 tonnes in 2020, with seven West African nations finishing in the top 40 of the world’s gold producing countries.
Ghana continues to be a clear leader in West Africa, coming at number six amongst the world’s leading gold producers with 138.7 tonnes in 2020.
Up-and-coming Mali came 13th with 93.8 tonnes, just shading Burkina Faso at 93.4 tonnes.
Guinea was next on the list of West African producers in 18th place with 56.9 tonnes, Côte D’Ivoire in 23rd spot with 41.9 tonnes and Senegal 34th with 15.8 tonnes.
Despite COVID-19-related impacts, West Africa has continued to perform strongly in 2021, according to the latest “West African Gold Mines Quarterly Summary” produced by CSA Global.
The report found that West African production for the quarter ending 31 March 2021 totalled 2.09 Moz, with Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali accounting for 78.1% of the production. Barrick Gold’s (TSX: ABX) Loulo mine in Mali was the largest gold producer with approximately 193,000 oz, followed by B2Gold’s (TSX: BTO) Fekola mine (125,088 oz) in Mali and Gold Fields Ghana Ltd’s Tarkwa mine (122,500 oz) in Ghana.
While the majors and mid-size producers continue to be key players, a number of juniors are having critical input. They include:
Galiano Gold Inc. (TSX: GAU) recently reported solid second quarter operating and financial results including results from the Asanko Gold Mine in Ghana, in which is in a 50-50 joint venture (JV) with Gold Fields Ltd (JSE, NYSE: GFI).
The Galiano operated Asanko project achieved gold production of 50,421 oz during the quarter and has year-to-date production of 110,420 oz.
Galiano reported gold revenue of US$95.1M generated from 53,348 gold oz sold at an average realized price of $1,782/oz, net income after tax of $12.7M.
Total cash costs per ounce of $1,236 and all-in sustaining costs (AISC) of $1,497/oz during the quarter, in line with expectations.
Galiano reported that the Asanko processing plant continues to operate above design delivering a quarterly milling performance of 1.5M tonnes (Mt) at an average plant feed grade of 1.1g/t with metallurgical recovery also well above design achieving 94% recovery.
The company is also well advanced development of Akwasiso Cut 3 with stripping activities on schedule for ore delivery in Q3 2021.
Galiano also reported strong exploration results with its infill drilling programme at Miradani North completed and on track to deliver a maiden resource estimate in the latter part of 2021.
Firefinch Ltd (ASX: FFX) continues to shine at the top class “Morila the Gorilla” gold project in Mali, where it is an 80% stakeholder.
As well as the successful gold production pouring out of Morila, the company has recently had some significant drilling success in the mine’s Super Pit where the first drillhole (MRD0001) returned 10.5 metres at 30.4g/t gold from 309.2m.
Managing Director, Dr Michael Anderson, said drilling also confirmed extensions to high-grade mineralization.
“We were looking for a repeat of the historical high grades in the Morila Super Pit and it’s taken us just one hole to demonstrate that ‘Morila the Gorilla’ is far from done,” Dr Anderson said.
“This is simply an incredible result from our first diamond core drillhole, which confirms not only the continuity of high-grade mineralization below the previously mined pit, but also the significant potential for underground mining at Morila.
“This first drillhole is just the beginning; we look forward to ramping up our drilling efforts and to providing a steady flow of results from which to update the Mineral Resource and further optimize the Life of Mine Plan.”
Roscan Gold Corp.
TSX-listed Roscan Gold Corp. (TSXV: ROS) recently unveiled positive results from an additional 17 diamond and RC holes totalling 2,956m at its Southern Mankouke Zone (MS1 and MS3) at the Mankouke South Project in Mali.
President and CEO, Nana Sangmuah, said the results continue to confirm that mineralization is open at depth in fresh rock at MS1 with a broader zone. In addition, drilling at MS3 continues to expand the footprint to a mineralization envelope size that is now at 300m E-W, 200m N-S, and 10 to 40m width. Notably, it appears that a consistent high-grade zone has been traced to a vertical depth of 120m, ended in fresh rock and remains open.
“We continue to be very excited as the mineralization of our Mankouke South flagship continues to expand, now with the doubling of the MS3 footprint, which remains open to the West-East and at depth,” Mr Sangmuah said.
“At MS1, we are also very pleased by the broadening of the sulphide zone at depth with consistent high-grade intercepts, pointing to the feeder zone opening up at depth.
“We expect a busy second half of 2021 with a further 20,000m of assays to come from our Mankouke West, Mankouke South, Mankouke Centre, Kabaya KB4, Dabia South and Moussala MOU1 targets in addition to delivering our maiden resource estimate by year end.”
Newcore Gold Ltd
Newcore Gold Ltd (TSXV: NCAU) has continued its drilling success at the company’s 100%-owned Enchi Gold Project in Ghana.
The company also confirmed it was expanding its 2020–2021 drill programme to 90,000m after the successful the completion of an US$11.5M equity financing.
The latest exciting drill results from Enchi have come from additional drilling at the Boin Gold Deposit where the company intersected 1.00 grams per tonne gold over 103.0m from 113 m, as well as an additional near surface interval in the same hole of 0.63 g/t Au over 40.0m from 27m.
Meanwhile, drilling at the Sewum Gold Deposit Enchi intersected 0.63 g/t Au over 77.0m from 4.0m, including 0.72 g/t Au over 36.0m from 4.0m in the oxides and 1.22 g/t Au over 14.0m from 53m in the sulphides.
Management said drilling continues to encounter wide zones of mineralization near surface, expanding the mineralized area outside the existing pit constrained resource.
Awalé Resources Limited (TSXV: ARIC) has backed up its recent exciting high-grade IOCG (Iron Oxide Copper Gold) styled discovery at the Charger prospect, with the delineation of a significant copper/gold anomalism in geochemistry surveys completed over the greater Odienné Permit area in Côte d’Ivoire.
The Sceptre Target is located north of the Charger Prospect where recent drill results of up to 14.3 grams per tonne (g/t) Au and 0.76% Cu were reported in July.
The new Sceptre Anomaly was delineated using a combination of company and former Randgold Resources (now Barrick) legacy data sourced by the company.
CEO, Glen Parsons, said the significant gold anomalism is associated with this copper anomaly, with a peak value of 1.6 g/t Au in company soil sampling. Gold anomalies are not isolated and several 1km and up to 2km-long trends have been delineated, coincident nickel, arsenic and lead anomalies are also associated with the same Cu anomaly.
“The recognition and significance of this >5km copper anomaly with associated gold is a result of the recent discovery of IOCG style mineralization at Charger, this has given us the exciting opportunity to place such anomalism in context using new interpretation and a new mineralization model at Odienné,” Mr Parsons said.
“Since Awalé acquired the Odienné Project and commenced exploration, the company has been aware of significant base metal anomalism within the greater Odienné project area. Now, with this new understanding comes the reinterpretation of Odienné targets which has created significant excitement as to the potential scale of mineralization around these current prospects and the greater Odienné Project, as we advance our exploration focus.
“We look forward to rapidly developing these current targets through further geophysics, geochemistry and drilling as the monsoon rains abate.”