Sarama Resources has completed a substantial block of work supporting the preliminary economic assessment for the development of the multimillion-ounce Sanutura gold project in Burkina Faso.

The PEA is based on a staged development with the initial phase focusing on high-grade oxide ore, followed by successive upgrades and expansions to deliver a long life, high return project.

Sarama Resources’ (ASX:SRR) strategic approach has been to focus on the payback period and structuring the project to facilitate development funding and generate project cash flows as soon as possible with minimal capital outlay.

The company’s large foothold in gold-rich West Africa is just 60km south of Endeavour Mining’s 5Moz Houndé mine, 120km south of Fortuna Silver’s high-grade +1Moz Yaramoko mine and 140km south of Endeavour Mining’s 5Moz Mana mine.

Sarama is certainly in the right neighbourhood for building a major mine.

Burkina Faso accounts for 21% of West Africa’s total greenstone belt exposure and is Africa’s 4th largest gold producer. Gold is also the country’s top export commodity, accounting for 20% of its GDP.

So, the government and surrounding communities are understandably very supportive of new mines coming online to provide local employment and flow on economic benefits.

Development of the Sanutura project has been broken into three consecutive phases – 1A, 1B and 2 – that correspond with different material types and increasing throughput rates.

Open pit mining is focused on bringing value forward and is being scheduled accordingly while underground mining is being scheduled to augment grade requirements later in the mine life.

Work undertaken so far includes preliminary open pit optimisations for the Tankoro and Bondi deposits, preliminary planning discussions on access and expected production levels, finalising the process flowsheet design for operating Phase 1A and commencement of the process flowsheet design for operating Phase 1B, and completion of the preliminary powerline corridor assessment and compilation of the power demand profile for the life of mine.

The PEA is slated for completion midway through the second half of 2023.


Building a major gold inventory

The Sanutura project resource contains a significant higher-grade component of 6.3 million tonnes (Mt) at 2.5 grams per tonne (g/t) for 0.5 million ounces (Moz) of contained gold in the higher confidence indicated category, plus 29.8Mt at 1.9g/t for 1.8Moz gold in the inferred category.

This highlights the presence of higher-grade zones within the greater mineralised system which will be the focal point for project development.

The combined oxide and transition component totals 0.2Moz of indicated resources plus 0.8Moz of inferred resources – representing about a third of the total resource.

Sarama’s exploration focus going forward will be on this near-surface oxide material, which is anticipated to provide significant, early plant feed to support a potential staged development of the Sanutura project.

Part of the PEA process involves upgrading the existing resource, and Sarama has already done a significant amount of shallow, cost-effective drilling to support that.

The Southern Hounde Belt’s endowment exceeds 20Moz and remains highly prospective. Recent discoveries by Sarama are expected to add to the oxide component of the resource.

This drilling uncovered shallow, high-grade mineralised zones outside of the current resource, including high-grade oblique mineralisation within the central area of the 2.5Moz Tankoro deposit and a whole new geological target model in the southern area of the deposit, where anomalous high-grade flat zones have been intersected.

The central area of the Tankoro deposit hosts almost 80% of its contained metal and remains the economic focus of the project.




This article was developed in collaboration with Sarama Resources, 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.