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Strong gold price puts Tietto Minerals in the money at Abujar

Updated: Apr 16

Tietto Minerals’ Abujar gold processing plant. Credit: File

Tietto Minerals has cashed in on a continuing strong gold price, revealing nearly $64 million in revenue in the six months to June 30 as it continues to reap profits from its Abujar gold mine on the Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa.

The figure included a doubling in receipts from customers – rising to $41.5 million in the past quarter compared to $21.8 million in the immediate previous period. The company’s half-yearly financial report released today also revealed it had recorded a $20.9 million gross profit for the first half of this year.

The report also showed significant cost cuts in exploration expenses and salaries and wages. The company says it had cash and bullion worth $26.7 million at the end of the financial year.

Tietto became West Africa’s newest gold producer during the reporting period, producing more than 25,000 ounces of gold at Abujar, with 9520 ounces produced in the March quarter and 15,592 ounces in the June quarter – a significant improvement.

The company says it mined only 6.28 million tonnes of ore in the March quarter as it overcame delays in pre-stripping that arose from wet in-pit conditions and haul truck delays through customs. But the June quarter showed a marked 49 per cent improvement to 9.36 million tonnes.

Tietto is now a profitable gold mining company, and we will endeavour to meet guidance in the coming months. The last few months of mining has given Tietto to ability to well understand the geology of the resource and we are predicting high free cash flows until well into the 2030s. We have an exciting new project with APG heap leach, and hope to organically grow over the next decade into a serous mid-tier gold producer. Tietto Minerals managing director and chief executive officer Matt Wilcox

Management says it is confident its Abujar mill will consistently exceed nameplate capacity in the second half of the calendar year. In the March quarter, the mill processed 724,000 tonnes of ore and in June, throughput exceeded the definitive feasibility study (DFS) rate of 4 million tonnes per year to reach peak rates of more than 100,000 tonnes per week for a total of 315,000 tonnes ore processed.

That, despite the fact that conveyor belt damage in the last week of June dragged mill operating time back to 76 per cent for the month. In July, mill throughput reached an annualised rate of more than 4.4 million tonnes per year, well ahead of the DFS rate.

Tietto’s first gold pour came less than 18 months after it began construction activities on the Abujar process plant. In the March quarter, the company produced 9043 ounces of gold and it then increased production to 15,563 ounces in the June quarter – a solid 72 per cent jump.

Management says gold grades have improved since mining started and that digging deeper to access fresh rock and grade control drilling in the June quarter reconciled to the resource block model by plus or minus 10 per cent. It says the continuity of both grade and geology are in line with its expectation of Abujar’s mineralisation and infill drilling supports the interpretation of grades and geological structures over several hundred metres.

In April, the company revealed an updated mineral resource estimate for Abujar of 124 million tonnes at 1 gram per tonne gold for 3.83 million ounces.

Exploration drilling at Abujar continues and is designed to provide resource growth both along strike and at depth where mineralisation remains open. Management says significant portions of the project’s 15km-long main shear, bounded by gold mineralisation, remain undrilled.

The company spent $2.69 million in the first half of the year on exploration within its Côte d’Ivoire tenements.

Last year, Tietto identified an opportunity to create a second standalone mine at its Abujar‐Pischon‐Golikro (APG) deposit. The scoping study found a heap leach gold processing operation could deliver an additional 85,000 ounces of gold per year for 10 years and samples from existing core are being used in metallurgical testwork designed to mature the option.

The Abujar mine is currently under a mining convention valid for the current 10-year mine life and it can be renewed for additional five-year periods.

Staffing changes during the first half of the year saw Tietto promote Mr Wilcox from chief operating officer to managing director and chief executive officer following the resignation of Mark Strizek and the retirement of company founder Dr Caigen Wang from the board.

In July, it appointed Clinton Bennett as chief operating officer – a move that will be effective from next month. Mr Bennett has operational and development experience at mines in Burkina Faso, Mali, Cote D’voire, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Australia and was most recently the general manager of Endeavour Mining’s 300,000-ounce Ity gold mine on the Côte d’Ivoire.

Tietto has been forced to weather a few storms in West Africa, but now believes it is well-placed to beat nameplate milling rates with good grade rock in the second half of the year – and keep its till ringing loudly.

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