Firefinch Limited (ASX: FFX) has obtained a number of positive results from operations at the Morila Gold Project in Mali.
Production during the September 2021 quarter (Q3) totalled 12,149 ounces of gold, with notable milestones including the start of mining at the Viper Deposit and, in the last few days, the commencement of haulage of ore from Viper to the Morila process plant.
An intensive drilling programme continues with five drill rigs currently in operation. Of these, 4 rigs are drilling at the Morila Deposit (3 Diamond Drill rigs and one Reverse Circulation (RC) rig). Drilling is focussed on following up recent and historical high-grade intercepts such as 10.5 metres at 34.0g/t gold in MRD0001, as well as improving delineation of mineralisation within initial mining areas to the west.
“We are very pleased with progress at our Morila operations, which continue to advance towards our goal of achieving more than 100,000 ounces of gold production in 2022,” Firefinch’s Managing Director, Dr Michael Anderson, said.
“While our Q3 production was impacted by the wet season, the continued improvement in grade, recovery and the commencement of mining at the satellite pits provides a solid platform for next year. It is also very encouraging that our drilling continues to intersect significant mineralisation, as well as highlighting high-grade targets for follow up.
“We are also pleased to announce our collaboration with MSALABS, a subsidiary of Capital Limited, to build a new laboratory facility at Morila, including the innovative Chrysos PhotonAssay process.
“High quality laboratory services are a key part of managing and maintaining best practice processes and this new facility is aimed at helping us to achieve that. We have a strong relationship with Capital and we look forward to commissioning of the laboratory in the coming weeks.”
Q3 Production Update
Production during the quarter was 12,149 ounces of gold, 7% less than the previously issued guidance (refer ASX Announcement 6th July 2021). The slight miss on guidance was the result of a wetter than forecast wet season impact on mining operations and material handling at the plant.
The company has already implemented measures to mitigate potential wet season impacts going forward, with a number of engineering and operational changes made to ensure continuity of mining and processing operations in future years. Pleasingly the average recovery in Q3 was 75%, well above the Q2 recovery of 63%. The mill head grade also improved to 0.61g/t gold during September from the Q2 average of 0.57g/t gold.
As part of a planned improvement to reduce elution stripping and other process costs, gold in the process circuit increased by approximately 1,000 ounces during the quarter. The Morila processing plant continues to operate on a 24 / 7 basis with no significant downtime during the quarter. The first planned maintenance shutdown was also completed during the first half of October with no safety incidents and 92% of planned work completed. This is an excellent result from our maintenance team, consultants and contractors.
Mining at the Viper Pit commenced during August and the mining of ore commenced during September. Haulage of ore to the Morila processing plant using a local Malian haulage contractor has now commenced. The availability of Viper oxide ore for blending with Morila Pit 5 fresh ore and mineralised tailings is expected to improve both head grade and recovery and provides optionality to adjust the material fed as needed.
“We are very pleased with the announcement of this new laboratory services contract for our subsidiary MSALABS,” Jamie Boyton, Executive Chairman Capital Limited, said.
“As an early investor in Firefinch, our relationship expanded with the successful drilling programs undertaken at the Morila Gold Mine utilising five Capital rigs.
“It is exciting to see this partnership further strengthen with the laboratory services contract, which expands our service offering on site and sees us introduce the first Chrysos PhotonAssay unit into West Africa.
“This is widely regarded as ground-breaking technology for the industry and will deliver significant benefits to Firefinch as their mining operations continue to ramp up.”
The five drilling rigs at Morila are implementing programmes aimed at growing Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves, optimising the initial stages of open cut mining, and testing the potential for underground mining. High-grade zones intersected within this drill programme will provide priority targets for ongoing drilling in 2022.
Open pit mining will continue to ramp up with primary mill feed to be provided by the Morila Pit 5, N’Tiola and Viper pits as the tailings resource is depleted. Pre-stripping activities at the Morila Super Pit will commence in Q1 2022, which will facilitate a ramp up in production to levels above 100,000 ounces in 2022.
For further information please visit: https://firefinchltd.com/