Endeavour pours first gold at ‘sector-leading’ Lafigué

Gold pour

LONDON- and Toronto-listed gold producer Endeavour Mining has held the first gold pour at its new Lafigué mine in Côte d’Ivoire on budget and ahead of schedule just 21 months after construction launch.

“The Lafigué project is the fifth project that that we have successfully built in West Africa in the last decade, which is a testament to the strength of our in-house project construction team and is a demonstration of our competitive advantage in West Africa, the world’s most prospective and largest gold production region,” said Endeavour CEO Ian Cockerill.

Lafigué was expected to produce between 90,000 and 110,000 ounces of gold annually at a “sector-leading” AISC (all-in sustaining cost) of between $900 – $975/oz in financial year 2024. Production was expected to increase to about 200,000 oz in financial year 2025, said Cockerill.

“We discovered Lafigué for a cost of $31m, equivalent to an industry-low discovery cost of just $12 per ounce of measured and indicated resources.

“The project was quickly advanced through technical studies and permitting before construction was launched in quarter four – 2022. In less than eight years we have transformed Lafigue from a discovery to production creating a cornerstone asset that has the potential to produce over 200,000 oz a year at  an industry-leading all-in sustaining cost of approximately $900/oz for at least 13 years.”

Cockerill added that: “We believe this level of value creation is repeatable in West Africa and we have already identified the Assafou deposit on the Tanda-Iguela property in Côte d’Ivoire where we have delineated a top tier resource and another potential cornerstone asset which will underpin our next phase of organic growth in a few years time.”

Cockerill said Endeavour was now focused on ramping up its recent development projects to maximise returns and support “near-term capital allocation priorities of de-levering our balance sheet and enhancing our shareholder returns”.

Endeavour reported in May this year that its net debt had reached $830.5m at end-March and the group’s net debt/adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation) ratio had jumped to 0.8 against a stated target of 0.5.

Endeavour had run up this debt through paying dividends as well as the costs of building the Lafigue mine as well as the Sabadola-Massawa BIOX treatment plant.