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Asanko provides an update on the Asanko Gold Mine life-of-mine plan -

Thursday, 15 August 2019

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug. 15, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Asanko Gold Inc. (“Asanko” or the “Company”) (TSX, NYSE American: AKG) is pleased to provide an update on the work underway to update the Mineral Resource and Reserve Estimate for the Asanko Gold Mine (“AGM”), located in Ghana, West Africa. The AGM is a 50:50 joint venture (“JV”) between Asanko and Gold Fields, which is operated by Asanko. 

Following a recent planning session between the AGM JV partners, key decisions were made and agreed between the parties as to the basis for an updated Mineral Resource and Reserve Estimate which is expected to be effective as at December 31, 2019 and published in Q1 2020.

Key Scope Items:

  • Mine plan based on the open pit Mineral Reserves at Esaase and Nkran (reflecting Cut 2 with stripping now nearing completion and a further Cut 3 pushback) as well as Mineral Resources from satellite pits at Akwasiso, Adubiaso, Abore and Asuadai;
  • Production based on the existing processing plant and infrastructure treating 5.4 million tonnes per annum (“Mtpa”) of ore;
  • Targeting a remaining life of mine of 8-10 years with gold production of 225,000 to 250,000 ounces per year;
  • Mineral resource models for all pits based on Localized Uniform Condition (LUC) methodology which has been proven over the last 12 months of operations to provide reliable reconciliation with mining;
  • Classification of Mineral Resources will be based on NI 43-101 standards and consistent with Gold Fields’ operating practices;
  • Mineral Reserve estimates to be generated based on Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources using Datamine Mine Stope Optimizing (MSO) software which has been demonstrated in operations to provide reliable estimates;
  • Ore will continue to be transported from the Esaase pit to the processing facility via road trucks.  The existing 27km haul road will be upgraded as required to support higher haulage rates in the future;
  • Significant capital expenditure is expected to be limited to the relocation of the Tetrem village (commencing in Q3 2019), an upgrade to the Esaase ore haul road (anticipated in 2022), waste stripping of Nkran Cut 3 and ongoing Tailing Storage Facility capital;
  • Life of mine capital is not expected to include any major development capital investments such as further processing plant expansions or Esaase ore transportation infrastructure;
  • Metallurgical recovery estimates for Esaase fresh ore based on an updated metallurgical model developed by the AGM JV partners based on a test-work program underway.

We have now aligned our development philosophy for the Asanko Gold Mine with our focus on near term free cash-flow generation,” said Greg McCunn, Chief Executive Officer. “As a result of the collaboration efforts of the joint Technical Committee of the JV, the joint venture now has a clear road map to complete this study in coordination with the year-end. Going forward, we expect to provide annual updates to the Mineral Resource and Reserve estimates.

The AGM is well positioned to generate positive cash flow following the completion this quarter of the major capital stripping program at Nkran. The updated life of mine plan will give us the basis from which to continue to develop a long life asset through our exploration strategy on the highly prospective 21,000 hectare land package. There are numerous high priority targets within trucking distance of the existing facilities and with exploration drilling underway this quarter, we expect to be profitably mining at the Asanko Gold Mine for a very long time.”

Mineral Resource and Reserve Estimate

Localised Uniform Conditioning (LUC) has been adopted for mineral resource modelling at all deposits at the AGM. This methodology has been proven over the last 12 months of operations to provide reliable reconciliation with mining. The type of mineralisation prevalent in the various open pits show a juxtaposition of high grade mineralization in close proximity to low grade mineralization and waste material. The adopted estimation methodology was selected to limit risk of overestimation of tonnes, and underestimation of grade that can happen when drill spacing is still quite broad and linear estimation methodologies such as Ordinary Kriging are used.

All deposit models have been updated with geological domain boundaries and key mineralisation controlling structures which have been derived from production grade control models developed over the past 18 months of operation. Geological modelling based on recent mining activity at the Esaase pit is still being finalized and is expected to be completed in Q4 2019.
The updated model for Esaase includes a detailed re-investigation of the controls to mineralization within the Esaase deposit which involved:

  • drilling an additional 4,900m of reverse circulation (“RC”) drilling (84 new RC holes) to more accurately delineate the surface oxide,
  • re-logging of 43,000m (163 holes) of historical diamond drilling to improve the structural and lithological interpretation of the controls to mineralization, including the development of new wireframes, and
  • reviewing the geostatistical modelling methodologies best suited to Esaase.

In addition to the modelling updates, mineral resource classification definitions have been adopted which are more rigorous than previous classification definitions, and are now consistent with those used by Gold Fields across other operations. It is expected that some of the Mineral Resources at Esaase categorized in 2017 as Measured and Indicated will be reclassified as Inferred Mineral Resources and will require further infill drilling in order to be classified as Indicated Resources.

Datamine Mine Stope Optimizing (MSO) software which has been demonstrated in operations to provide reliable estimates will be used to generate the Mineral Reserve estimates based on the Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources. Adoption of trucking transport solution will also increase the cut-off grade utilised in the estimation of Mineral Reserves.

Metallurgical Test-work

As part of the approval of commencement of mining activities at the Esaase deposit in early 2019, the JV initiated a metallurgical test-work program to improve the confidence in metallurgical recovery estimates for the fresh ore at Esaase. Current mining operations are mining oxide ores from the Esaase deposit, which represent approximately 30% of the resource. Oxide ore recovery is well understood and approximately 30% of the ore feed for the current operations is being sourced from Esaase oxides with metallurgical plant recovery of gold of over 93%.

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