Endeavour Mining has announced a 1-million-ounce maiden gold resource estimate for the Kari Pump discovery at its flagship operating Houndé Gold Project in Burkina Faso.
Kari Pump, which is only 7km west of the processing plant, is one of three high-grade discoveries made in the large Kari gold in soil anomaly which covers a 6km-long by 2.5km-wide area.
A total of 203,900 metres have been drilled over the past 18 months, covering only 35% of the anomaly.
Since May 2018, efforts have focused mainly on the Kari Pump discovery, with over 71,000 metres drilled to extend and infill its mineralisation, which has led to the successful delineation of a maiden resource.
In addition, over 20,000 metres were drilled on the Kari Centre and Kari West discoveries, for which a maiden resource is expected to be delineated in 2019.
The Kari Pump maiden resource estimate has increased Houndé's measured and indicated resources by 40%, while adding high-grade material.
Kari Pump's maiden resource covers an area 1.3km long by 0.8km wide and remains open towards the east, north, northwest and southwest.
The resource comprises 11.3 million tonnes in the indicated category at 2.71 g/t for 987,000 ounces and inferred resources of 200,000 tonnes at 2.21 g/t for 20,000 ounces. Due to the intensive infill drill program completed, 98% of the maiden resource has been classified to the indicated category.
As the mineralisation starts at surface, it is amenable to open pit mining. In addition, around 45% of the indicated resource is within the oxide and transition zones, compared to most of the Houndé indicated resource in fresh zones.
Another aggressive 200,000-metre drill program is expected to start before the end of the year focused on extending the mineralisation of Kari Pump and delineating a maiden resource for the Kari West and Kari Centre discoveries, in addition to testing other nearby targets.
Endeavour's president and CEO Sébastien de Montessus said: "The maiden resource announced at Kari Pump is extremely encouraging. The size and high-grade nature of the resource confirms Houndé as a world-class asset with significant exploration potential to extend its status as a long-life, low-cost flagship mine within our portfolio.
"I would like to congratulate our Houndé Exploration team for its commitment, enthusiasm and professionalism and to thank them for their efforts which are bearing fruit today. It is impressive to delineate a maiden resource with more than 98% classified in the indicated category and at a discovery cost of just $9 per ounce."
Executive vice-president exploration and growth Patrick Bouisset said: "We are very pleased with the maiden resource at Kari Pump as it confirms the high potential we see at Houndé. With over 200,000 metres drilled, processed and analysed in less than 18 months over the Kari area, our team has proven the ability to deliver quickly on high-priority targets.
"Looking ahead, we are excited by the upside potential in the wider Kari area and the other regional targets. As such we have launched another intensive 200,000-metre drill campaign with the goal of quickly delineating more resources.
"More broadly, the exploration success achieved notably at Kari Pump, Ity and Fetekro just two years since the implementation of our five-year strategic exploration plan in late 2016, demonstrates that we remain on track to reach our ambitious discovery target set at a discovery cost lower than $20 per ounce."
Endeavour operates five mines across Côte d'Ivoire (Agbaou and Ity), Burkina Faso (Houndé, Karma), and Mali (Tabakoto), which are expected to produce 670,000-720,000 ounces in 2018 at an AISC of $840-890/ounce. The high-quality development projects (recently commissioned Houndé, Ity CIL and Kalana) have the combined potential to deliver an additional 600,000 ounces per year at an AISC well below $700/ounce between 2018 and 2020.
In addition, the exploration program aims to discover 10-15 million ounces of gold between 2017 and 2021 which represents more than twice the reserve depletion during the period.