Firefinch continues to add to its bounty around the Morila gold mine in Mali after securing a mining licence for its Finkola permit.

The conversion of the exploration licence will pave the way for mining to begin at the Beledjo-Koting deposit, the fourth satellite ore source for Firefinch (ASX:FFX) to feed the Morila mill.

Beledjo-Koting contains an ore reserve of 20,000oz including 0.63Mt at 0.98g/t gold, with inferred and indicated resources of 0.93Mt at 1.01g/t for 30,000oz of gold.

But the unmined deposit is an important source of soft and easy to process oxide ore, meaning it can be blended with fresh rock from the recently reopened Morila Super Pit to improve processing efficiency.

“The grant of the Permis d’Exploitation for Finkola is another important step in ramping up production at Morila,” FFX Managing Director Mike Anderson said.

“Beledjo gives us another ore source and importantly provides oxide ore for blending with fresh ore from the Morila Super Pit.”


More prospects on the horizon

Since acquiring Morila for ~US$29 million in 2020 from AngloGold and Barrick, Firefinch has reinvented the operation, which had been a shadow of its former self under the majors.

While they were reliant on low grade ore from a tailings reclamation project to keep the mill ticking, FFX has mined a series of satellite pits to improve costs and ramp up production, including Morila Pit 5, Viper and soon N’Tiola.

Mining is now back under way at the Morila Super Pit, which is expected to help Firefinch hit a run rate of 100,000oz by the end of the year and 200,000ozpa by 2024.

Beledjo at Finkola, 23km north-west from Morila, looks likely to be the next satellite to come into the production schedule.

But there is more blue sky beyond it.

Firefinch has also identified mineralisation at the K2 and K3 prospects in recent drilling at Finkola, the most advanced prospects after Beledjo.

Drilling is planned at both in 2022 to define mineral resources and potentially add them to the future mill feed at Morila, with other prospects to be advanced with surface geochemistry and aircore drilling.


How it all works

The award of the Finkola licence is another example of Firefinch’s ability to work constructively with the Malian Government.

Last year, it secured approval for a major joint venture to develop the Goulamina Lithium Project, one of the world’s largest, in partnership with China’s Ganfeng.

That deal was finalised on Monday, unlocking US$170 million in finance for the Project and paving the way for the demerger of its lithium business into Leo Lithium.

At Finkola, Firefinch’s subsidiary Birimian Gold Mali SARL has been granted the Permis d’Exploitation, or mining licence, over its previous exploration licence.

The licence will now be transferred to a single purpose Malian company standing alone from Morila, in which the State will have a right to a 10% free carried interest and option to purchase a further 10% at fair market value.

Once formed it will enter into arms-length commercial agreements with Morila to operate and manage the mining and haulage at Beledjo and process the ore into gold dore on the company’s behalf.


This article was developed in collaboration with Firefinch, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.