Australian-based Firefinch has confirmed the start of the Morila Super Pit, also known as the “Morila the Gorilla” gold mine in Mali.
With the commencement of mining, the company said, it can begin its ramp up to more than 100,000 ounces of gold annually beginning this year.
Currently, initial activities have begun to pre-strip waste from the first state of the super pit, a project which will continue throughout the first quarter, while it works to meet its goal of first ore in the second quarter and consistent ore production in the second half of this year.
Mining is being performed by mining contractor Mota Engil, which is working in joint venture with Malian group Intermine (MEIM). MEIM was retained last June for mining operations at the super pit as well as its satellite pits.
“MEIM initially mobilised to commence mining at the Viper satellite pit,” Firefinch MD Michael Anderson said.
“Hydraulic mining of high-grade tailings and satellite pit ore has provided a window to commence mining operations at the Morila super pit using the current fleet. A new mining fleet is onsite being assembled and will be operational imminently to ramp up material movement and accelerate the development of the Morila super pit.”
In addition to the fleet, he added, crews have commenced work on a brand new, 100-tonne mining fleet that will be online this month, and a fleet of larger, 150-t units that will be commissioned in the coming months.
Drilling also continues at Morila to outline the complex’s potential.
“We look forward to safely developing [the mine]…and generating the full value that Morila the Gorilla has to offer,” Anderson added.
Firefinch has an 80% interest in Morila, which already produced 7.5 million ounces since 2000; the company acquired it in 2020 for US$28.9 million with the intent to grow production from 70,000-90,000 ounces per year initially to 150,000-200,000 oz/y with the addition of the super pit.