With a Probable Ore Reserve of 1.05 million ounces and Mineral Resources totalling 1.72 million ounces of gold, the Tulu Kapi gold project in Western Ethiopia is being rapidly progressed towards development.
The Tulu Kapi Mining Agreement between the Ethiopian Government and KEFI was formalised in April 2015. The terms include a 20-year Mining Licence, full permits for the development and operation of the Tulu Kapi gold project and a 5% Government free-carried interest.
In June 2015, KEFI Minerals completed the Tulu Kapi Definitive Feasibility Study (“DFS”) evaluating a conventional open-pit mining operation and carbon-in leach (“CIL”) processing plant. The key DFS outcomes are:
- Gold production of 961,000 ounces of gold over a 13-year mine life.
- Average All-in Sustaining Costs of US$779/ounce, which ranks the project in the lowest cost quartile globally for gold producers.
- Initial funding requirement of approximately US$132 million, based on the planned use of contract-mining and an all-new processing plant.
KEFI Minerals is targeting to commence construction of Tulu Kapi in H2 2017.
Following completion of the DFS, KEFI has continued to improve project economics. Based on feedback from project contractors, financiers and independent technical consultants, KEFI announced in January 2016 an increase in planned production at Tulu Kapi to circa 115,000 ounces per annum at an average AISC of US$742/ounce over nine year. This increase is a result of a planned increase in process plant capacity from 1.2Mtpa to 1.5-1.7Mtpa.
The Tulu Kapi gold deposit was discovered and mined on a small scale by an Italian consortium in the 1930’s. Nyota Minerals Limited acquired the licences in 2009 and then undertook extensive exploration and drilling which culminated in an initial DFS in in December 2012 based on a 2.0Mtpa processing plant and capital expenditure totalling $290 million.
In December 2013, KEFI Minerals acquired 75% of Tulu Kapi for £4.5 million. This acquisition cost equates to only $10 per reserve ounce and provides the information collected from historical expenditure of more than $50 million.
In September 2014, KEFI acquired the remaining 25% of Tulu Kapi for £750,000 and 50 million shares.
The Ethiopian government became entitled to a 5% free-carry interest in Tulu Kapi upon granting of the Mining Licence in April 2015.
The Exploration Licences held by KEFI Minerals (Ethiopia) Limited cover an area of approximately 200 square kilometres over and near the Tulu Kapi deposit.
The altitude of the project area is between 1,600m and 1,765m above sea level. The climate is temperate with annual rainfall averaging about 150cm.
Tulu Kapi is located approximately 360km due west of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. A main road to Addis Ababa is within 12km of Tulu Kapi and is being sealed with asphalt during 2014. Power lines on the main electricity grid are within 40km of the project.
The Tulu Kapi region has typical greenstone type geology which is characterized by prominent hills of intrusive rocks and deeply incised valleys containing metasediments and metavolcanic rocks.
Gold at the Tulu Kapi deposit is hosted in quartz-albite alteration zones as stacked sub-horizontal lenses in a syenite pluton into which a swarm of dolerite dykes and sills have been intruded. Gold mineralisation extends over a 1,500m by 400m zone and is open at depth (+400m).
The mineralisation is characterised by a simple mineralogy comprising gold, silver, pyrite and minor sphalerite and galena. Metallurgical recoveries of gold average more than 93% for oxide and sulphide ore in the planned open pit.