Toubani Resources (ASX:TRE) is planning to begin work on a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) update later this month for its Kobada Gold Project in southern Mali.
The company has started discussions with engineering groups to complete the updated DFS, which is targeted to be completed by the end of 2023.
This updated DFS will assess a range of development scenarios to analyse the impact of different mining and processing rates on operating costs, capital costs, and the financial performance of the project. The 2021 DFS contemplated a processing plant with a 3-million-tonne-per-annum throughput rate, with mining rates averaging 24 million tonnes per annum to enable a ‘higher-grade’ feed from the first to the 10th year.
The 2021 DFS also demonstrated that the quantity of ore mined within the first 10 years is ‘significantly more’ than the ore processed due to a low strip ratio. As a result, ‘substantial’ stockpiles are expected to build up over that period, which impacts cashflows and requires double handling later in the project life.
Toubani reports the DFS update will focus on a range of ‘higher’ processing plant throughputs, with mining schedules updated to match these processing rates, and optimising stockpile balances.
The update will assess whether this range of throughputs can be achieved without ‘significant’ changes to the mining rates contemplated in the 2021 DFS while using achievable mining productivities and consistent material movements in line with the scale of the project.
The company believes that mine scheduling using ‘typical’ mining fleets, including different and ‘larger’ configurations of equipment, can achieve ‘more efficient’ material movements and potential cost economics.
The DFS update will also consider whether changes to the pit stage layout and scheduling sequence have the potential to deliver ‘sufficient’ material to meet larger throughput scenarios while maintaining a ‘meaningful’ project life.
The company believes Kobada’s overall technical and geological risk profile could reduce ‘significantly’ under a large tonnage majority oxide scenario, with the nature of the deposit amenable to a bulk mining approach, while the potential economics of a larger processing plant and increased annual production benefits the project overall.
To achieve this goal, the company will be investigating the opportunity to convert inferred mineral resources within the current open pit design to add future value, completing targeted drilling in ‘key’ areas, and updating the geological model.
Concurrently, Toubani also plans to further investigate the optimal inclusion and implementation of the fresh rock mineralisation into a re-optimised Kobada, as it remains a ‘major’ opportunity for the project.
The deposit is open at depth along the 4.5km strike extent of the Kobada deposit. The fresh rock material is considered moderate hardness and free-milling, with ‘significant’ testwork completed as part of the 2021 DFS.
The company will also be incorporating the potential for mineralisation recently delineated at the Gosso and Kobada West satellite deposits into the project pipeline, with resource delineation drilling at these prospects slated for the second half of 2023, if warranted.
Additional metallurgical testwork is also likely to be conducted on potential new sources of plant feed, including the Kobada extensions at Kobada North, Foroko, Kobada South, Kobada West, Gosso, and Kobada East zones.
Commenting on the DFS update, Toubani Resources Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Phil Russo says: “We are excited to commence the DFS update workstreams as we believe the full potential of Kobada as the next West African gold mine of scale has yet to materialise.
“The DFS update will pursue the potential for the project to be re-optimised to a throughput level that more aptly supports a bulk mining and lower overall technical risk approach…”
The DFS update will pursue the potential for the project to be re-optimised to a throughput level that more aptly supports a bulk mining and lower overall technical risk approach, which is further strengthened when considering the significant existing resource of oxide, free digging material at Kobada.
We believe Kobada has all the attributes to distinguish itself from its other West African development peers, being free milling ore, a large oxide resource with attractive fresh rock optionality, while also permitted. We look forward to completing the update to the DFS later this year to aim to demonstrate the robustness and lower overall risk profile that a larger Kobada project could deliver.”
Toubani Resources is a Perth-based gold explorer focused on developing its Kobada Gold Project in southern Mali. The company had US$2.27 million cash at hand on 31 March 2023, according to its latest financial statement published on 10 May 2023.
Write to Harry Mulholland at Mining.com.au
Images: Toubani Resources Inc