Endeavour Mining Corp (TSE:EDV) (OTCMKTS: EDVMF), the West-Africa gold miner, has more than doubled the higher confidence indicated resources at its Fetekro exploration project in Ivory Coast, saying it has the potential to be the firm's highest grade operation to date.
The resource at the Lafigué deposit at Fetekro has grown by an impressive 108% to 2.5 million ounces of gold at a grade of 2.40 grams per ton (g/t) of the precious metal, at a 0.5g/t cut-off, the group said.
Notably, as now 97% of the overall resource at the deposit is classified as indicated, no further drilling is required to class it as a reserve.
Endeavour's chief executive Sébastien de Montessus said that the firm was 'thrilled' at the upgrade.
"Moreover, we are pleased with the value generated from our exploration efforts as we have spent a total of $19 million at Fetekro over the past three years which resulted in a discovery cost of $7.50/oz per Indicated ounce," he added in a statement.
"We believe that Fetekro has the potential to be a quality project, given its exploration potential and an already defined large-scale open pittable deposit with straightforward metallurgy, high gold recovery, located close to existing infrastructure and requiring only minimal relocation.
"With more than 2.0 million ounces at grades above 3.50 g/t gold, it would make it our highest-grade mine, in a country where we have successfully built two mines in the past decade."
An initial preliminary economic assessment (PEA) at Lafigué based on the previously announced 1.2 million ounce (Moz) indicated resource already showed robust project economics for an eight year mine.
The pre-tax net present value (NPV) was pegged at US$372 million and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 37% at a US$1,500 gold price with life of mine all-in-sustaining-costs (AISC) of US$697 an ounce.
Endeavour said an updated PEA based on today's updated 2.5Moz indicated resource is now expected to be published in the fourth quarter of this year.
The multi-asset firm has two mines (Ity and Agbaou) in Ivory Coast, four mines (Houndé, Mana, Karma and Boungou) in Burkina Faso and four potential development projects (Fetekro, Kalana, Bantou and Nabanga).
The company also has a strong portfolio of exploration assets on the highly prospective Birimian Greenstone Belt across Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali and Guinea.
At Lafigué, the firm plans to start 20,000 meters of additional drilling in the fourth quarter of this year, with the goal of testing its remaining extensions and nearby targets
"We believe there is significant potential for additional ounces to be added at Lafigué, which remains open at depth and along strike, through drilling in the coming year, as well as testing additional targets in close proximity to Lafigué," said Patrick Bouisset, the group's executive vice-president of exploration and growth.
"On a broader note, we are also extremely pleased with our company-wide exploration results. Since the launch of our strategic exploration plan in late 2016, we have added over 8.3 million ounces of Indicated resources and remain on track to reach our very ambitious target at least 10 million ounces of Indicated resources before the end of 2021," the group said
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