Morila has produced 7.5 million ounces of gold since 2000 and was one of the world’s highest grade open pits around 12 to 20 years ago.
Firefinch Ltd (ASX:FFX) (FRA:N9F) (OTCMKTS:EEYMF) has started open pit mining at Morila Pit 5 within the wider Morila Gold Project in Mali where contractor EGTF has mobilised a new 100-tonne class fleet.
This represents a key milestone for the company at the project often referred to as ‘Morilla the Gorilla’ as Firefinch extends mining operations beyond the tailings retreatment.
Works completed to date include all mining prep such as re-establishment of the haul road to the crushers as well as mining and haulage to the crusher run of mine (RoM) stockpiles.
The company has said production levels have been exceeding plan with around 100,000 tonnes of Morila Pit 5 ore being hauled to RoM stockpiles.
This complements around 530,000 tonnes of ore mechanically mined from the tailings facility already stockpiled.
Stockpiled ore will be the feed used to commission the recently refurbished plant comminution circuit with the commissioning of this circuit to commence later this month.
Morila Pit 5 has an indicated and inferred mineral resource of 840,000 tonnes at 1.1 g/t with an ore reserve estimate to be disclosed once current drilling has been incorporated into an upgraded mineral resource estimate.
Managing director Dr Michael Anderson said: “It is very exciting to be off and running with our first open pit mining operation at Morila.
“The location of Pit 5 right next to our operating processing plant, combined with recent drilling results that enhanced economics, made it a compelling opportunity to fast-track first production before we commence mining at our other satellite deposits.
“Importantly all the work has been undertaken safely, and it is very pleasing to have engaged the Malian owned and operated contractor EGTF, to resume mining at Morila Pit 5.
“Having taken these first steps, we of course remain very focused on the main prize – bringing the Morila Super Pit back into operation.”