Yaoure gold project is a high-grade gold mine being developed by Australia-based company Perseus Mining in Cote d’Ivoire.

The definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the project was completed in November 2017, while the front-end engineering and design (FEED) study was completed in October 2018.

Construction on the $262.7m Yaoure gold project is expected to be started in the first half of 2019. The open-pit gold mine is expected to produce its first gold by the end of 2020.

The Yaoure gold mine is expected to produce 215,000 ounces (oz) of gold a year in the first five years of production.

The project is expected to produce 1.37 million ounces (Moz) of gold over its estimated mine life of 8.5 years.

Yaoure gold project development history

Discovered in 1932, the Yaoure gold mine was undertaken for development by Amara Mining (formerly Cluff Gold) in 2004.

The preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for the project was completed in March 2014.

Perseus Mining acquired the mine as a brownfield project in April 2016 and decided to develop as a heap leach processing operation.

Yaoure gold project location and geology

The Yaoure gold project is located 35km north-west of Yamoussoukro. The deposit is hosted within the early Proterozoic (Birimian-aged greenstone belt) deposit that consists of intrusive sub-vertical granodiorite, volcanoclastic, and volcano-sedimentary rocks.

Gold mineralization at the mine occurs in two shallow-dipping packages namely Yaoure central package and CMA.

The 200m-thick Yaoure central package is located approximately 140m below the 20m-thick CMA mineralized zone.

Yaoure gold reserves

The Yaoure gold mine is estimated to hold 26.8 million tonnes (Mt) of proven and probable ore reserves grading 1.76g/t Au and containing 1.52Moz of gold.

The mine is also estimated to hold 89Mt of indicated and inferred ore resources containing 3.4Moz of gold.

Mining and processing for the Yaoure gold project

Yaoure gold mine will employ conventional open-pit mining method involving drill, blast, load, and haul operations.

The mining fleet will comprise hydraulic excavators, 240t shovels, and 90t trucks.

The main ore body will be extracted on 5m benches in 2.5m-high flitches. The CMA ore body will be mined in the first five years before extracting the Yaoure central package in the remaining years of mine life.

The extracted ore will be processed at the nearby 3.3Mtpa processing facility, where it will undergo crushing and two-stage grinding.

The processing plant will be installed with a 6MW semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill and a 6MW ball mill.

The milled ore material will be then passed through hydrocyclones before undergoing carbon-in-leach (CIL) process with cyanide detoxification, for the recovery of gold.

The carbon-loaded gold will further be screened, washed, and transported to electro-winning cells to recover final gold.

The final gold will be washed, filtered, and dried before being sent to smelters.

Infrastructure facilities for the Yaoure gold mine

The Yaoure gold mine will receive electricity supply through a 225kV transmission line connected to the Kossou substation, which is located 6.5km away from the project site.

Water for the mining operations will be supplied from the Bandama River through a 6km pipeline.

The project also includes a 30Mt tailing storage facility of 80m height and an on-site camp to accommodate 144 workers.

Contractors involved with the Yaoure gold project

The engineering and supply contract for the Yaoure gold project was awarded to Lycopodium Minerals in January 2019.

Lycopodium Minerals was also engaged to carry out the FEED and DFS for the project.

Other lead consultants for the DFS of the project were Runge Pincock Minarco, AMEC, and GEO Systems International.