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  West Africa Region

West Africa Region

The West Africa Region’s Mineral Resource base has decreased by two per cent net of depletion. The Mineral Reserve has decreased by four per cent net of mined depletion. The West Africa Region currently accounts for five per cent and eleven per cent of the Group’s attributable precious metal and gold equivalent Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve base respectively.

Notable regional points are:

  • The CIL plant expansion at Tarkwa came on stream during financial 2009 and was ramped up to full production during financial 2010, resulting in a new quarterly production record for Tarkwa of over 200,000 ounces for Q4 financial 2010;
  • At Damang, an aggressive near mine exploration programme during financial 2010 indicated good potential for extensional opportunities to the south of the main Damang Pit and between some of the smaller open pits on the property to extend the Damang life of mine; and
  • The commissioning of a secondary crusher at the Damang processing plant was completed during the fourth quarter of financial 2010. This facility will increase the treatment capability of high grade fresh ore and mitigate the dependency on lower grade oxide ore. Ideally, this should allow for an optimal blend ratio of 95 per cent higher grade fresh ore and five per cent oxide ore. Consequently, this will influence the exploration strategy for the mine going forward.

Tarkwa

Tarkwa’s Mineral Resource ounces decreased by five per cent and the Mineral Reserve ounces decreased by eight per cent mainly due to depletion.

The High Pressure Grind Roll (HPGR) technology pilot study for improving heap leach recovery at Tarkwa, commenced in financial 2010 with 2.1Mt of material being processed. Over the next 12 months the test results will be analysed to determine the viability of applying the technology to reprocess the decommissioned South Heap Leach pads, which contain approximately 0.6 million ounces of residual gold.

The Tarkwa Carbon in Leach (CIL) plant expansion was ramped up to full planned production during financial 2010. This expansion increases the mill capacity to 12.3 Mtpa. In addition, the heap leach (HL) treatment route has a capacity of 9.85 Mtpa, translating to a combined CIL and HL planned production of between 700 koz to 750 koz per annum.

Damang

Mineral Resource ounces increased by ten per cent, mainly due to extensional exploration successes. The Mineral Reserve ounces increased by 17 per cent after depletion, largely as a result of new discoveries, a higher gold price, converting to owner mining (cost reduction) and model enhancements.

The Damang Pit Cutback (DPCB) complex continues to provide a window of opportunity to explore attractive targets and increase the mine’s operational footprint. A significant increase in Mineral Reserves at Juno (within the DPCB complex) and Rex, following resource model updates and optimisation at US$925/oz, adds to this flexibility. An investigation into the potential of underground mining beneath the DPCB open pit has commenced with a number of deep diamond drill holes which are planned to continue into the current financial period.

Damang plans to maintain its rate of discovery to sustain a pipeline of quality projects and to provide additional mineable Mineral Reserves to drive an extension to the LoM. On-mine lease exploration activities over the next year will be aimed at resource conversion of high potential targets such as Amoanda North, Rex North and Rex South.