ENDEAVOUR Mining said it had started construction of the $448m Lafigué gold project with first production of a proposed 203,000 ounces a year forecast in two years.
Sébastien de Montessus, CEO of Endeavour, said the mine would be “a cornerstone” of the group’s one million oz plus a year production. Lafigué is situated on the Fetekro property in Côte d’Ivoire.
De Montessus said Endeavour was “ideally positioned” to build Lafigué as it was net cash and had derisked its last major project, the expansion of Sabadola Massawa in Senegal. He also said inflationary pressures were beginning to ease.
Gold production would be at an all in sustaining cost of $871/oz over an initial 12.8 years of mine life. Cash costs were estimated at $721m.
Endeavour also targeted potential expansion through the discovery of up to two million oz of measured and inferred resources by 2025. “Lafigué is expected to improve the quality of our portfolio,” said De Montessus.
The group has forecast full year production of 1.32 to 1.4 million oz for this year at $880 to $930/oz in AISC. De Montessus said in August Endeavour’s production numbers for the six months were “solid”.
De Montessus was then commenting on the firm’s interim production and financial announcement at which it also unveiled a minimum total dividend of $200m for the current financial year. This is more than its targeted payout policy, following interim adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $726m.
It declared a $100m dividend for the six months ended June 30 which is 43% higher than last year’s return and which was “… reflective of our improved financial position and confidence in our business outlook,” the group said.
Endeavour took centre stage in global gold industry consolidation in 2019 and 2020 in an effort to leapfrog into the top ten largest gold producers with production of over a million ounces annually. Since then, however, it has sought to restyle its investment offering focusing on organic growth and returns. Including today’s dividend announcement, it had paid out around 10% of its market capitalisation since beginning dividends.