Endeavour Mining Corp. said it poured first gold from the Ity gold-silver project in Cote d'Ivoire under its initial budget of US$412 million and four months ahead of schedule, yielding about 1,800 ounces of gold.
The company said March 19 that the carbon-in-leach plant is already running at its 4 million-tonne-per-annum nameplate capacity. Debottleneck and optimization work are underway to increase the plant capacity by 1 mtpa to 5 mtpa at a minimal cost of between US$10 million and US$15 million.
The company expects to complete the plant upgrades during scheduled plant maintenance shutdowns over the next six months.
Meanwhile, with the start of performance trial testing, Endeavor expects to declare commercial production early in the second quarter.
Endeavor said it has a US$11 million exploration program totaling about 71,000 meters of drilling planned for 2019. The program will delineate additional resources at the Le Plaque target and test other targets such as Floleu, Daapleu SW and Samuel, aiming to publish an updated resource in the second quarter.
The company expects to produce between 160,000 and 200,000 ounces from Ity in 2019 at all-in sustaining costs of US$525 per ounce to US$590/oz.
In January, the company increased its ownership in Ity to 85% from 80%.