The mine development has a forecast capital cost of US$265 million which will be funded by a US$150 million credit facility, US$40 million in underwritten warrants and US$81 million in existing cash and bullion.
Perseus managing director & CEO Jeff Quartermaine said: “When Perseus acquired Amara Mining plc in April 2016, our primary objective was to bring Yaouré into production as soon as practical.
“With the decision announced today, we have moved one step closer to achieving this goal.
“We are firmly placed on the path to achieving our stated aim of producing more than 500,000 ounces of gold at an all-in site cost less of less than US$850 per ounce from multiple mines in several jurisdictions in West Africa.
“With the experience that our team developed from the successful execution of the Sissingué Mine development plan, we are confident that Yaouré will also be developed on time and on budget and in the process further establish Perseus’ reputation as a reliable and capable developer and operator of gold mines in West Africa.”
The board’s decision to develop Yaouré follows the recent granting of an exploitation permit by the government of Cote d’Ivoire and confirmation of Perseus’ development plan.
Perseus has collaborated successfully with Lycopodium in the past, including on the ahead-of-time and on-budget development of Perseus’ Sissingué Gold Mine which was commissioned in early 2018.
Under the terms of Lycopodium’s contract, first gold is due to ne poured at Yaouré by January 23, 2021, although a “stretch target” involving an earlier gold pour in December 2020 is being pursued.
Along with execution of contracts, Perseus has advanced payments for crop, land and sacred site compensation, with about 80% of landowners paid compensation at rates specified by the local prefect’s decree.
Payment of compensation to landowners is required before clearing and preparation of the processing facility and tailings dam sites can begin.
The company is in negotiations with the Ivorian government for a mining convention to establish a stable fiscal and social environment for the project, with finalisation and execution of the convention expected in the September 2019 quarter.
Perseus is also planning to reactivate exploration activities adjacent to the proposed mine site.
High priority will be placed on delineating further mineralisation that can be mined from below the proposed CMA open pit using underground methods.
The company last November posted a preliminary inferred resource estimated for a potential underground mining operation at Yaouré which totalled 3 million tonnes at 6.2 g/t gold containing 595,000 ounces.
The accompanying scoping study found there were no known impediments to future underground development at Yaouré.
Perseus intends to undertake exploration and mineral resource definition work which will materially add to Yaouré’s ore reserve base and life-of-mine plan, beyond its current nine-year life.