Having commenced construction late last year at its Singida Gold Project in central Tanzania, an East Africa-focused gold producer and explorer, Shanta Gold (AIM: SHG), has announced that the project is still in progress.
Commenting on some milestones noted thus far, CEO Eric Zurrin says open-pit mining operations commenced at the Gold Tree pit on September 15, this year, with the company recording its first successful open-pit blast on October 15, 2021.
Meanwhile, stockpiling of ore is underway. In addition, the tailings storage facility dam design has been completed, with all permits received and approval granted by the regulators to commence construction.
Key infrastructure such as bulk power, water, buildings and fencing are pro-gressing as well.
The crushing circuit, designed and manufactured by the Metso Outotec Group, has been completed. Shipment started in September, with site delivery expected in November and December 2021.
“The crushing circuit is a modular crushing and screening plant. We selected this option as it is the same type of plant we use at our flagship producing asset, New Luika, and we aim to leverage our operational and technical know-how to replicate success across our entire portfolio of assets.
The mill is designed at 360 000 tonnes per annum (tpa). The crushing plant capacity is 150 tph or 1,1-million tpa, which provides spare capacity to double the milling capacity without affecting the crusher,” explains Zurrin.
Meanwhile, the manufacturing of the grinding & gravity circuit mill is ongoing. Manufactured by NCP in South Africa, the mill’s site civil works are scheduled to commence in December 2021, while site installation is planned for May 2022.
However, prior to commencing production, the company is aiming to finalise the contract awards for the remaining plant equipment, finalise tenders for processing plant equipment, obtain Mining Commission approval for contract awards and install slurry pumps and gensets to support TANESCO bulk power.
Reaching the production milestone in early
2023 will transform Shanta from a single asset producer to a 100 000 oz per annum producer with a diversified revenue stream across two operations, further de-risking our business and placing us in a strong position to maintain our sustainable dividend and fund the highly promising West Kenya asset,” says Zurrin.
Shanta has an established oper-ational track record, with defined ore resources on the New Luika and Singida projects in Tanzania, with reserves of 666 koz grading 3 g/t, and exploration licences covering approximately 1 100 km2 in the country.
Alongside New Luika and Singida, Shanta also owns the West Kenya Project in Kenya with defined high grade resources and licences covering approximately 1 162 km2.
Grade control drilling
Meanwhile, strong results from the grade control drilling programme have further increased confidence in the strength of the production profile at Singida.
“Our grade control drilling programme is a core driver of value for the project – it increases our confidence in the quality and grade of the ore. The results thus far have been highly encouraging, reaffirming the strength of the asset’s production profile, particularly for the first 18-24 months of production,” says Zurrin.
The grade control RC holes at Singida were drilled at an inclined angle of minus 53° with hole depth ranging from 10m to a maximum of 46m.
Infill grade control RC holes were drilled to cover a spacing of 15m along the strike and 10m along the dip and a vertical depth of 20m was covered during the programme.
The true widths of mineralisation are estimated to be approximately 85-90% of the intercept of RC down hole length. All results are based on 1m composite samples of RC drilling, Au assays values based on fire assay analysis of a 50 gm at New Luika Site Laboratory.
A total of 1 515m of grade control drilling has been completed as part of phase one drilling programme including:
v Hole SGTGC3: 11m @ 6,64 Au g/t from 10mv Hole SGTGC7: 10m @ 6,8 Au g/t from 16mv Hole SGTGC12: 14m @ 8,68 Au g/t from 16m
• Including 1m @ 20, 60 g/t from 24m and 1m @ 47, 60 g/t from 26m hole SGTGC20: 8m @ 24, 89 Au g/t from 22m
• Including 1m @ 10, 12 g/t from 24m and 1m @ 182, 90 g/tA total of 95 RC grade control holes have been drilled to date with assay results from 45 holes received thus far.
The reported intercepts have widths greater than or equal to 4m and grade greater than 3, 3 g/t. The updated reserves at Gold Tree deposit are expected in Q1 2022.Singida is hosted in a greenstone deposit, lending itself well to upside exploration potential.
Future exploration will target the extension of reserves and will be funded by cash flow from production at Singida.
The company says it is extremely proud of the social impact that its projects deliver, and strives to prioritise individuals from the local com-munity in its recruitment process.
At New Luika, 99, 5% of Shanta’s workforce is Tanzanian, and now at Singida, 100% of its employees and contractors on site (210) are Tanzanian nationals.
Additionally, both assets are led by Tanzanian only management teams. The company has nearly doubled its team in the last year, and all new hires are Tanzanian.
The recent appointment of Tanzanian GM, Jiten Divecha, who has 20 years’ experience, including previously as operations manager for Barrick Group in Tanzania, is a testimony to this local hiring approach.
“We are looking forward to con-tinuing to support communities through our investment in the region,” says Zurrin, who says community investment initiatives have commenced, including the upgrading of roads and surrounding infra-structure, as well as the launch of schools in surrounding villages.
On the safety front, the project has maintained a strong health and safe-ty track record with zero LTIs since commencement of construction.