Randgold Resources says the feasibility study on its Massawa gold project in Senegal is nearing finalisation and a development decision is scheduled for the end of this year.

The company said on Monday the latest testwork had shown that 75 percent of Massawa’s ore reserves could be processed through the simple, low-cost gravity and leach method, overcoming the obstacle initially presented by the project’s complex metallurgy. 

The remaining 25 percent would be produced at the end of the mine’s life, either through the BIOX process or sold as concentrate to a specialised process facility.

“Continuing exploration is focused on expanding the Massawa reserve and while it is still short of Randgold’s 3 million ounce minimum requirement, the project’s other metrics are positive,” said Randgold’s general manager for exploration Joel Holliday.

Randgold said an inter-ministerial government commission had been appointed to oversee the project’s licensing and development protocols, and a public consultation process would start next month.  A draft environmental and social impact assessment study was scheduled for submission in July.

Ahead of the development decision, Randgold has been investing in local community projects and 70 percent of the project’s workforce has been recruited from surrounding villages.

Randgold discovered Massawa in 2007 and is one of the larger undeveloped gold deposits in West Africa.

- African News Agency (ANA)