Firefinch Ltd (ASX:FFX) (OTCMKTS:EEYMF) (FRA:N9F) continues to make strong progress at Morila Gold Project in Mali, West Africa and is on track to meet production guidance this quarter while advancing plans to begin mining satellite pits in mid-2021.

To enable processing of this satellite ore, capital work programs are being undertaken at the processing plant and tailings dam with these projects being funded by cashflow from operations.

Morila is producing gold from reprocessing of tailings with guidance suggesting production of around 10,000 and 10,500 ounces of gold this quarter.

In January, the mine produced 3,494 ounces of gold and 3,372 ounces in February and Firefinch says it is on-track to meet Q1 guidance.

Processing plant work

Major projects at the processing plant include carrying out refurbishment of the primary crusher and oxide crusher dump pockets, civil works around the primary crusher retaining structures (90% complete), sandblasting and painting the mill structure (80% complete) and replacing corroded steelwork in the process plant.

Other works include refurbishing laboratory buildings, undertaking civil works to install the temporary 6MW power plant as well as vendor inspections of the crusher and mill.

Tailings dam work

At the tailings dam, while the design of the TSF facility has begun, the company continues to establish deposition compartments within the dam footprint to accept tailings and allow congruent hydraulic mining and tailing deposition.

Deposition of tailings into the tailings dam started on January 25 and is the first step towards dewatering the Morila pit.

Mechanical mining is being carried out of the basal layer of tailings after hydraulic mining and prior to deposition of tailings with 50,000 tonnes at approximately 0.4 g/t gold placed on the ROM pad for treatment once comminution commences.

The refurbishment of main drains in the tailings dam has been completed.

Satellite pits

Projects at satellite pits include:

  • N’tiola pit: dewatering completed, first-pass drilling complete, resource estimate and first-pass mine design nearing completion with further infill drilling underway targeting mineralisation near surface.
  • Viper Pit: first pass infill and extension drilling complete, first results are being received. Further infill drilling is anticipated to be carried out.
  • Domba pit: dewatering underway to permit access to pit floor to undertake infill and extension drilling.
  • Koting deposit: first pass drilling is complete while further infill drilling is also completed with all samples submitted to laboratory.
  • Pit 5: infill drilling is complete with resource estimation and pit design in progress.
  • Mining tender for Viper, N’Tiola and Koting nearing award.
  • Haul road extension to Koting has been designed with permitting to commence.

Planning and design

Morila has an in-house laboratory which is completing an average of 800 grade and plant samples per week and 1,600 drill samples per week.

There is a backlog of 7,000 samples and to clear the backlog additional shifts have been engaged at Morila as well as utilisation of commercial laboratories in Bamako.

Numerous appointments have been made to build capacity at Morila in advance of the recommencement of mining.

Mine planning and design for the main Morila pit is well-advanced and social programs continue with a heightened level of engagement with community leaders as activity at the mine ramps up.

Shares are more than 7% higher to A$0.225 while the company’s market cap is approximately A$152.5 million.

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