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Toro Gold provides Mako Mine update

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Global Mining Review,

Toro Gold has provided an update on the 1Q19 operational performance of the Mako Mine in Senegal and the associated development of its revised and improved Life of Mine Plan (‘optimisation study’ or LoMP).

Mako 1Q19 production highlights:

  • 47 519 oz of gold sold, exceeding forecast sales of 40 245 oz by 18%.
  • 528 000 t of ore processed at 2.91 g/t Au, exceeding forecast processing of 450 000 t at 2.66g/t Au.
  • Metallurgical recoveries in line with expectations at 94%.
  • Improved cash costs of US$611/oz over forecast costs of US$659/oz.
  • Zero lost time injuries.

Highlights of the Optimisation Study:

  • 105 koz added to the LoM reserve for a total of 893 koz to be mined;
  • Increased milling throughput rate of 2.3 tpy from the current rate of 1.8 tpy.
  • Maintenance of remaining 6.5 year mine life compared to previous LoMP.
  • Implementation with no additional capex requirement.
  • Forecast life of mine cash costs of US$754/oz, US$90/oz lower compared to previous LoMP.

Martin Horgan, CEO, commented: “I am delighted to report another period of excellent results for Toro Gold. Operational performance at Mako was superb over the first quarter of 2019, continuing the excellent start to operations since first gold pour in January 2018. The Mako Gold Mine continues to outperform production and cost forecasts, whilst maintaining a strong safety record, and we remain on track to meet production guidance for 2019 of 157 koz.

"The team has not rested on its laurels and over the past six months, has completed the optimisation study for the mine. This has led to an updated LoM plan that has not only increased the reserve base at Mako, but also allows us to run the mine at an increased capacity to further improve its already robust economics. Importantly, this increased throughput does not shorten the mine life and can be achieved without the need for additional capital expenditure.

"On a final note, April saw the transition of Adrian de Freitas as General Manager of the Mako Mine into a business development role for the wider group. Russell White, formerly the Mako Mine’s Study and Project Manager, has taken on the role as his direct replacement. Adrian was instrumental in ensuring that Toro Gold made such a strong and safe start to operations at Mako and he has left behind a fantastic legacy for Russell to build upon, as we enter this next phase of expansion and operations at the mine. On behalf of the board, the management and the operations team, I would like to thank Adrian for his contribution and welcome him to his new role in Toro Gold. Russell’s knowledge of the mine is unparalleled given his previous role in its design and construction and we strongly believe that he is the best candidate to drive forward the mine’s operational performance."

Mako 1Q19 performance

The Mako Mine maintained 2018’s performance momentum over the first quarter of 2019, with operations, gold production, cost control and safety all meeting or exceeding set targets. Grade control reconciliation has outperformed over the period for both t and contained gold, and mining operations remain on track to meet forecast annual production volumes. Processing operations continue to impress with a total of 528 kt milled at an average grade of 2.91g/t Au against a budget of 450 kt at 2.66g/t Au – with metallurgical recoveries in line with forecasts of 94%. This, in turn, led to improved gold sales of 18% above budget for the period.

Unit costs were helped by this production ‘out performance’, resulting in cash costs for the period of US$611/oz against a budget of US$659/oz. This was achieved with no recorded LTIs over the period as we continue to focus on providing a safe working environment for employees. The company’s core priorities for the remainder of the year will be the implementation of the new LoMP that requires a step up in processing capacity – albeit one that was already close to being achieved during the first quarter – whilst maintaining a focus on continued improvement and safety.

In March 2019, Adrian de Freitas stepped down as General Manager of Mako, having accomplished a smooth and safe ramp up phase and transition from construction into an excellent first year of production operations. He will stay with the business in a business development role for the wider group. Russell White, who oversaw the successful construction of the mine as Study and Project Manager has been appointed as the new General Manager.

2019 Mako LoMP

April saw the finalisation of the Optimisation Study for the Mako Mine. The study utilised a combination of drilling and operational data gathered over 2018 to assess the possibility of increasing both the total reserves for Mako, whilst simultaneously increasing the throughput rate of the process plant.

This work was completed by a combination of the Toro Gold team and third-party external consultants and engineers that had previously supported the Mako feasibility study:

  • Resource estimation – Cube Consulting, Perth, Australia.
  • Geotechnical review – SRK, Cardiff, UK.
  • Mining review – Mining Focus Consultants Pty Ltd, Perth, Australia.
  • Processing – Orway Mineral Consultants, Perth, Australia.
  • Tailings/Water Balance – Knight Piesold, Perth, Australia.

During the period February 2018 to September 2018, the company completed 59 diamond drill holes for a total depth of 16 645 m. The programme was focused on previously identified mineralisation immediately beneath the final reserve pit in an attempt to identify additional mill feed that could be mined by open pit. In addition to this programme, the mine geology group has also completed 1194 RC grade control holes for 27 791 m since mining operations began.

2018 drilling results overview

Utilising a combination of the updated resource and operational data gathered in 2018, the Optimisation Study sought to:

  • Increase the total reserves of the Mako Mine.
  • Increase the annual throughput rate to utilise additional milling capacity.
  • Not require significant Capex expenditure.
  • No reduction in the current 6.5 year mine life.

The Optimisation Study has managed to achieve all these targets with 105 koz added to the reserve for a total of 893 koz life of mine from this date. At the same time mill throughput has been increased to 2.3 tpy which maintains a 6.5 year mine life. The LoMP can be achieved using the existing mining fleet and mine infrastructure (Tailings, waste rock and water storage facilities) without the need for any significant Capex.

Starting from the 1st January 2019, the new LoMP envisages total ore mined of 14.7 t at 2.01g/t Au with a strip ratio of 5.4 t of waste to 1 t of ore. The stockpiling cut-off strategy successfully employed in 2018 is utilised and results in an annual mill feed of 2.3 tpy with metallurgical recoveries of 93.8% leading to an average annual production of 144 koz Au over the first 6 years. This leads to average cash cost forecast of US$754/oz over the remaining mine life using current consumable and fuel pricing – some US$90/oz lower than the previous LoMP.

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