-- Definitive Feasibility Study underway with several key opportunities to further improve the project being pursued.-- Permitting process continuing following the successful public hearing with submission of Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) due in July.-- Project financing initiated and advisors engaged.-- Project on-track to commence early site works by end of 2013 with steady state production of 200,000 ounces per year targeted by end of 2015.
Asanko Gold Inc. ("Asanko" or the "Company") (TSX: AKG)(NYSE MKT: AKG) is pleased to provide an update on it Esaase Gold Project ("Esaase" or the "Project") in Ghana, West Africa. Following the completion of the Pre-feasibility Study ("PFS"), (see news release dated May 14, 2013), the Company immediately initiated a Definitive Feasibility Study ("DFS"). In the study, several key opportunities are being pursed to further enhance the already robust project economics, including:
-- Mine planning to allow for higher mining and processing rates in the early years of production while treating oxide ores.-- Pit optimisation using results of the PFS as a basis for design, targeting improved Resource conversion to Mineral Reserves and extending the planned life-of-mine.-- Metallurgical test work to reduce the concentrate mass pull from flotation, which could reduce capital and operating cost estimates.-- Geotechnical engineering to investigate improvements in pit slope angle, reducing the strip ratio.
Pit optimisation and detailed mine planning are underway for the DFS. In the PFS, the pit optimization was completed using processing costs that were estimated as part of a conceptual study completed in August 2012. During the PFS, the process operating costs were estimated to be substantially lower than the conceptual study estimates as a result of utilising flotation. For the DFS, the pit optimisation will utilise the lower operating costs generated in the PFS as a basis for the optimisation and it is expected that this will increase the conversion of Mineral Resources to Mineral Reserves.
In addition, the detailed mine plan to be developed following the pit optimisation will incorporate the fact that the early years of production anticipate treatment of oxide ores which can be processed at a higher rate than fresh ore due to their softer nature. It is expected that the increase in mining and processing rate while treating oxide ore will result in higher gold production during the first few years of operation than estimated in the PFS.
A final metallurgical test work program is underway at ALS-Ammtec in Perth, Western Australia. The objective of the test work is to investigate various flotation reagents with an aim to reduce the mass pull from the flotation circuit, which could result in lower operating and capital costs by lowering cyanide consumption and providing for smaller equipment in the leach circuit. Final results and analysis of the test work will be announced in due course.
Further geotechnical engineering work is also underway based on existing geotechnical data with the aim of designing for steeper slopes in both the footwall and hanging wall of the pit. The Company plans on drilling a further twelve geotechnical holes to add to its already extensive geotechnical data and improve confidence in the geotechnical design.