Endeavour’s wet commissioning activities at the Sabodala-Massawa expansion project (BIOX Expansion) are currently underway, within the budget, with 91% of construction completed, and the first gold pour is expected in May this year

BIOX expansion

The construction activities at the BIOX expansion project. (Credit: Endeavour Mining Plc)

UK-based mining company Endeavour Mining has announced the start of wet commissioning activities at its Sabodala-Massawa expansion project (BIOX Expansion) in Senegal.

According to the company, the BIOX Expansion project is on track, within the budget, with 91% of construction completed, and the first gold pour expected in May.

Wet commissioning of the BIOX Expansion follows the start of construction in April 2022.

The construction involved up to 1,300 employees and contractors, of whom 82% were Senegalese nationals, and completed three million man-hours with zero lost time injuries.

Endeavour said that the 1.2Mtpa BIOX Expansion, with an initial capital cost of $290m, is expected to add 194koz per annum of incremental production over the first five years.

Also, it will lift the Sabodala-Massawa to top-tier status with an estimated production of 360-400koz at an AISC of between $750-850/oz in FY-2024, increasing to above 400koz from 2025.

Sabodala-Massawa is its largest exploration focus this year, with a guided spend of $21m or 31% of total Group exploration expenditure for the year, said the British mining company.

Endeavour Mining CEO Ian Cockerill: “At completion, Sabodala-Massawa will become a true top-tier asset with 2024 production of up to 400koz at an industry-leading AISC of less than $850/oz, with costs expected to improve further in the coming years, embedding the mine firmly in the lowest cost quartile.”

“This year, Endeavour is well positioned to transition from a phase of investment in organic growth to a more cash flow generative phase in the second half of the year.

“This inflection point will allow us to focus our efforts on increasing our shareholder returns while de-levering our balance sheet, as we continue to execute our strategy.”

Endeavour acquired the Sabodala-Massawa mine in February 2021, as part of its acquisition of Canada-based gold company Teranga Gold.

The British mining company owns a 90% stake in the Sabodala-Massawa mine, with the remaining 10% owned by the Government of Senegal.

The mine is located around 630km east-southeast of Dakar, the capital of Senegal, and contains several open pit operations on the highly prospective Birimian Greenstone Belt.

In 2021, Endeavour planned to complete the initial upgrades at the existing CIL plant and simultaneously advanced the definitive feasibility study (DFS).

The following year, the company started the construction of the 1.2Mtpa BIOX circuit to process the large refractory ore resource with the first gold expected in early May 2024.