Tietto Minerals Ltd (ASX:TIE) is taking big strides towards developing the Abujar Gold Project in central-western Côte D’Ivoire with a resource upgrade expected and a pre-feasibility study (PFS) close to being finalised.
Investors have started to recognise the potential scale of Abujar and this helped Tietto to raise $56.6 million in equity funds in July 2020, giving it a cash balance in excess of $60 million.
In its annual report, chairman Francis Harper highlighted the company’s efforts over the last 12 months to advance the Abujar project to its third resource upgrade set for October 2020 and to progress a pre-feasibility study for the development of a major gold project.
He said: “Subject to the delivery of a definitive feasibility study, we believe that we have now raised the large majority of any equity requirement for project development, well ahead of its likely deployment in 2021.”
The company’s strategy of owning and operating its own drilling fleet has enabled it to consistently report more than 2,000 drilling metres per week at a cost of less than US$35 per metre compared to contractor rates exceeding US$200 per metre.
This has resulted in extraordinarily low annual drilling costs and a very low cost of discovery per gold ounce.
Harper said: “Tietto intends to accelerate drilling at both the Abujar project and its other exploration licences as we begin the search for a second gold deposit of Abujar AG deposit size.”
Abujar is spread over 1,114 square kilometres and has a 2.2 million ounce resource to date.
Growing gold ounces
The company’s Ivorian geological team led by Yaya Ouattara and Rock Senouvo has been successful in continuously growing gold resources, with assistance from Tietto directors Caigen Wang, Mark Strizek and Paul Kitto.
Harper said: “We are very proud of our in-country management team led by our country manager Fred Yao Nkanza who has been operating and managing the Ivorian team so efficiently and professionally.
“Finally, we are very grateful to our long-standing Ivorian joint venture partners who have been working with Caigen from Tietto’s earliest days in 2012 and have been critical for project acquisition and new projects in West Africa.”
The company has contracted Perth-based Mintrex Pty Ltd to manage detailed metallurgical testing programs for the Abujar feasibility study.
Its work has advanced grind size establishment, gravity recovery and cyanide leach optimisation, building on preliminary work completed in 2016 which demonstrated exceptional gravity gold recovery of over 80% and CIL gold recoveries above 98%.
Harper said: “We look forward to delivering more good news for shareholders regularly as we expedite feasibility studies while accelerating our exploration diamond drilling program throughout 2021.”
Tietto is an owner-operated company with the board holding close to 10% of the capital and is dedicated to maximising the per-share value.