"On the ground we have a brand-new team who brought fresh perspectives and enthusiasm into the project."
Could you comment on the latest performance of your flagship Syama mine in Mali?
Syama is a large-scale complex with two processing plants and two operations – one open-pit and one underground. Syama has performed well with record production from the sulphide (underground) circuit. Besides mining more ore from the underground operation than ever before, we also processed more material thanks to improvements made in the processing circuit over the last year. Therefore, our roaster throughput and processing levels were also at record levels. Unfortunately, the overall gold production was below target because we processed lower grades. In the oxide, we produced to target, mining from the Cashew open pit sitting south of Syama, as well as from low-grade stockpiles. On the ground we have a brand-new team who brought fresh perspectives and enthusiasm into the project.
Resolute bought Mako in 2019, and later published an updated LOM. Is the mine delivering to expectations?
The Mako gold mine in Senegal was a terrific acquisition that has consistently hit all targets. Performance at the mine is exactly in line with expectations. During H1 2021, Mako produced 63,506 oz at an AISC of US$1,064/oz.
Resolute has created a multi-mine, multi-jurisdiction portfolio. What is your exploration focus?
In the near term, we will concentrate on exploration closer to our existing infrastructure. Given the scale of the resources, Syama is a key exploration target. Syama sits on an extended mineralization trend fully controlled by Resolute and where we intercepted very positive drilling results, particularly at Tabakoroni, in the underground area. We recently published numerous high-grade interceptions with 8 m at 28 g/t Au from 383 m at Tabakoroni underground, and we expect to communicate more positive results from the ongoing drilling program in the sulphide circuit. In the north we also retrieved very good oxide drill results, hitting 14 m at 10.05 g/t Au from 16 m at Syama North Oxide. These results have taken us back into the oxide satellite pits which present us with small, probably less-than-one-year operations, but we want to mine those areas and make sure to exhaust all oxide opportunities at Syama before we can move on to the Tabakoroni underground.
Meanwhile, the Mako prospect in Senegal is more contained and we already have a very good understanding of the ore body, so we are moving closer to the mine, focusing on pit extensions and satellite deposits within trucking distance of the mill to potentially extend the LOM.
In terms of greenfield exploration, we carry out early-stage exploration in Guinea where we hold a very prospective tenement. The country is highly endowed and quite topical for investors.
Resolute recently sold the Bibiani mine in Ghana to Asante Gold for US$90 million. Can you comment on the significance of this transaction for Resolute?
Bibiani has over a century of mining history. We acquired the gold mine in 2014, keeping it under a care and maintenance program since. During this time, we updated the feasibility study, proving that the mine can produce about 100,000 oz/year within a 10-year LOM. It was necessary that we made a commercial decision for the asset and we are very confident that the sale to Asante Gold creates win-win outcomes for Resolute and for Asante, but also for the country and the community.
Could you elaborate on Resolute’s production and cost guidance for 2021? Do you have any optimization initiatives planned?
Our production guideline for 2021 is expected between 315,000 oz and 340,000 oz at an AISC of US$1,290-1,350/oz. Over the past 12 months we identified various different measures that are soon to be reflected in improved production metrics.
Can you share a few words about Resolute’s CSR work and the relationship the company enjoys with the local communities?
Our aim is to make sure the benefits from our assets are translated to the benefit of the community – be this through education, training, employment, or the contribution to agricultural development. Together, with the governments of Senegal and Mali, we mobilized our resources to vaccinate over 1,100 employees against Covid-19. The immunisation of our staff positively impacts their families and their broader communities.