UK-based mining company Endeavour Mining has commenced wet commissioning activities at the $448m Lafigué gold project in Côte d’Ivoire.

The wet commissioning activities are being carried out at the crushing, milling and carbon-in-leach (CIL) circuits at the Lafigué processing facility. The first ore was introduced to the crushing and milling circuits last week.

Endeavour Mining aims to achieve the first gold pour at the Lafigué project in late-June this year. This will be a quarter earlier than initially planned.

Lafigué is projected to produce between 90,000 and 110,000 ounces (oz) of gold in FY-2024.

The mining company said that 94% of the construction of the gold project is complete and is on budget.

Besides, the mobilisation of mining equipment has been completed. Apart from that, mining operations are progressing as per the planned schedule with 14.4 million tonnes of material moved since they began in Q4 2023.

Presently, ore stockpiles amount to 1.6 million metric tons, with a gold grade of 1.3g/t, containing 65,000oz.

Located towards the northern end of the Birimian aged Oumé-Fetekro greenstone belt, the Lafigué project is owned 80% by Endeavour Mining. The Ivorian government and state-owned mining company SODEMI hold a 10% stake each in the gold project.

Endeavour Mining CEO Ian Cockerill said: “Lafigué is set to become another cornerstone asset in Endeavour’s portfolio; with over 200koz of annual production at an all-in sustaining cost below $900/oz over its initial 13 year mine life.

“Lafigué is a great example of our strong track record of organic value creation. The project was discovered through our own ambitious exploration programme for a cost of $31m, equivalent to an industry low discovery cost of just $12 per Indicated resource ounce.

“Given its potential, we expedited the necessary technical studies before launching construction in Q4-2022 and we have now started wet commissioning at the project in only 21 months from construction launch, and we continue to track ahead of schedule for first gold in late-June.”