The Top 10 largest gold mines in West Africa produced 1,051 koz of gold in Q1 2020 inching up 2% more than what they produced in the first quarter of 2019 (1,032 koz). Ghana featured 5 mines out of the Top 10 mines in West Africa. Ghana’s 5 mines contributed a total of 446 koz, representing a whopping 42.4% of the Top 10, from one nation.
Ghana’s youngest mine, Asanko, delivered her best financial performance report since birth, in 2016. This performance by Asanko represents 7% at the ECOWAS level of the Top 10, and 15% at the national level of the Top 5.
In general, five mines of the top 10, increased their gold output (Loulo, Fekola, Tasiast, Iduapriem, Asanko), while four faced a decline (Tarkwa, Ahafo, Essakane, Akyem). The production at one mine (Tongon) remained unchanged.
Summary of Q1 2020 largest gold mines in West Africa are as follows:
- Loulo-Gounkoto, Mali. 176 koz. Gold production at Barrick’s Loulo-Gounkoto gold mine in Mali in the three month period which ended on March 31, 2020 was 10% higher compared to the same period last year. This increase was primarily due to the higher feed grade processed from the Yalea underground and the Gounkoto South pit.
- Fekola, Mali. 164 koz. B2Gold’s Fekola Mine in Mali had a very strong start to the year with a record first quarter gold production of 164,011 ounces, 9% (14,011) well-above budget and 49% (53,662 ounces) higher compared to the first quarter of 2019. Fekola’s significant increase in gold production over the first quarter of 2019 was mainly due to expansion of the Fekola mining fleet and the optimization of the pit designs and mine plan for 2020, which have provided access to higher grade portions of the Fekola deposit earlier than anticipated in previous mine plans.
- Tarkwa, Ghana. 127 koz. Gold production at Gold Fields’ Tarkwa mine in Ghana declined by 7% to 127,100 ounces in the March quarter 2020 from 137,000 ounces in March quarter 2019 mainly due to lower yield. Her exploration efforts have yielded nothing so far, and management may have to do a cost benefit analysis to either move certain structures and mine, or let sleeping dogs lie, for Tarkwa already is the leading producing mine in Ghana.
- Tasiast, Mauritania. 104 koz. Kinross’ Tasiast mine in Mauritania continued its strong performance and delivered, for the second consecutive quarter, record quarterly production and throughput. Throughput averaged 16,100 t/d during the quarter, as the mine continued to ramp up capacity. Production was slightly higher quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year mainly due to improved mill performance.
- Ahafo, Ghana. 102 koz. Newmont’s Ahafo mine in Ghana produced 26% less gold in Q1 2020 (102 koz) over Q1 2019 (137 koz) due to lower grade ore milled.
- Essakane, Burkina Faso. 93 koz. Gold production at IAMGOLD’s Essakane mine in Burkina Faso for the first quarter 2020 was lower by 7% compared to the same prior year period as ore feed was sourced from lower grade zones due to mine sequencing. Gold sales for the first quarter 2020 were lower by 19%, reflecting the postponement of gold sales at the quarter-end due to the global COVID-19 crisis.
- Akyem, Ghana. 84 koz. Newmont’s Akyem mine in Ghana produced 11% less gold in Q1 2020 (84 koz) over Q1 2019 (94 koz) due to lower grade ore milled.
- Tongon, Ivory Coast. 68 koz. Gold output at Barrick’s Tongon gold mine in Ivory Coast remained unchanged in Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019.
- Iduapriem, Ghana. 67 koz. Production at AngloGold Ashanti’s Iduapriem gold mine in Ghana increased by 5% year-on-year to 67,000oz at a total cash cost of $689/oz for the quarter ended 31 March 2020, compared to 64,000oz at a total cash cost of $693/oz for the quarter ended 31 March 2019. Production increased as a result of a 5% increase in grade due to mining higher grade ore from Blocks 7 and 8 in the Teberebie pit, as per the mining plan.
- Asanko, Ghana. 66 koz. Asanko gold mine in Ghana, which is jointly owned by Galiano and Gold Fields, has posted a record quarterly gold production of 66,333 ounces at all-in sustaining cost (“AISC”) of $805 /oz in March Quarter 2020. For this reason, the ubiquitous and infectious smile of Ing. Charles Amoah is now the order of the day at Asanko.
AMN credits Mines & Minerals for parts of this write up