Golden Star Resources, owners of Golden Star Wassa Limited have outlined a development roadmap to increase the underground mining rate to fully utilize the plant’s processing capacity of 2.7 million tonnes per annum (“Mtpa”) with a focus on minimizing capital demand needed to establish full production.
The mining conglomerate hopes to achieve this by ensuring that production schedules appropriately consider conversion risk of the inferred mineral resource, employment of current design quantities technologies and costs reflecting current operational experience.
These were disclosed in preliminary economic assessment (“PEA”) of the potential expansion of the Southern Extension zone in the Wassa underground gold mine in Ghana (“Wassa Underground”) contained a technical report filed by Golden Star Resources on Wassa Gold Mine.
The PEA highlights life of mine of 11years from the inferred mineral resource, with total gold production of 3.5 million ounces and an average annual gold production of 294 thousand ounces, representing approximately 75% increase on the current production rate.
In an interview, the Chief Executive Officer of Golden Star Resources, Andrew Wray, noted that “the preliminary economic assessment, demonstrates the significant value and growth potential of Wassa, clearly laying out the path to underground mining rates in excess of seven thousand tons per day and production of approximately 300 thousand ounces per annum when in steady state production”.
The report also noted that recent infill drilling activities have shown a 98% increase in proven mineral reserve at Wassa with 86% increase in measured mineral resource.
The mineral reserve plan outlines a six-year mine life with annual production expected to average 177 thousand ounces of gold at an all-in sustaining cost of $881 per ounce with a Post-Tax Net Present value of approximately $336 million.
Although total proven and probable mineral reserve has decreased by three hundred and twenty-one thousand Ounces (321Koz) after depletion and conversion of the previous open pit mineral reserve, the company says, optimized underground mineral reserve has increased by 21% to One Point One Million ounces of gold (1.1 Moz).
In year 2015, Golden Star Resources remodeled their open pit operations at Wassa into an underground mine and according to the CEO, this has allowed the company to bring production from those areas forward with a lower upfront capital cost.
Wassa is expected to deliver increased value and the growth of the project will be funded by its cash flow and available liquidity.
Golden Star owns a 90% interest in, and manages Golden Star Wassa limited with the Ghanaian government owning the remaining 10%. The Wassa mine has been operating since 1998 as an open pit operation with the underground development starting in 2015 and reached commercial production in 2017.
Since year 2017, Wassa underground has shown consistent improvement in ore tonnage generation capacity.
By: Godfred Tawiah Gogo