Construction of industrial cyanidation plant with throughput capacity of 300 tons of ore per day
Total investment of €10 million
Expected start-up of operations before year-end 2016
Auplata (Alternext - FR0010397760 - ALAUP)-- France's leading gold producer today announced that the Prefect of French Guiana has signed the authorisation (facilities classified for environmental protection) for the construction of its industrial cyanidation unit project at the Dieu Merci mine.
The signing of the ICPE authorisation by the Prefect of French Guiana is the final step required by Auplata to proceed with construction of its first plant using a cyanide leaching technique at its Dieu Merci mine, with the goal of eventually introducing this recovery technique to all of its mining sites.
Cyanide leaching is expected to enable up to 95% of the gold contained in ore to be recovered, whereas recoveries obtained by gravity leaching techniques, currently used by Auplata, are between 25% and 30%. The cyanide leaching method is considered to be the only solution for sustainable economic development of the gold mining industry in French Guiana.
With this Prefectorial authorisation, Auplata gains access to an industrial-scale extraction method, which is much more cost-effective than its current processes, positioning the company to completely transform its business model and helping secure its long-term viability.
Jean-François Fourt, CEO of Auplata, says:
“This cyanidation plant will completely transform the face and image of Auplata,” said Jean-François Fourt, CEO. “It will significantly add to our gold production capabilities, while increasing our profile amongst our peers in the international gold mining industry.”
“This is also a significant milestone for broader economic development in French Guiana and we anticipate this decision will have many positive economic and social impacts, including the creation of 50 new permanent jobs,” added Mr. Fourt. “I would also like to extend my thanks to the entire management team for their hard work and efforts over the past two years in working to secure the Prefectorial authorisation.”
A Greek thinker, Chilon, rightly maintained that “As the touchstone tries gold, so gold tries men”. This saying has never been so meaningful for all those at Auplata who have contributed for two years to reaching this major turning point for the company and delivering a tremendous creation of value for all our shareholders.”
An ambitious €10 million industrial mining product, unprecedented in French Guiana
In conjunction with the Prefectorial authorisation, Auplata also announced the start of construction work on its cyanidation plant, the first of its kind and size in French Guiana, which will take place throughout 2016.
Site preparation – including stripping, earthworks and slab pouring – and the equipment sourcing phase will run through to summer 2016. Building construction and equipment installation will be carried out in the second half of 2016, with Auplata expecting plant start-up, which will include testing, calibration and commissioning, by the end of this year.
The plant will be a modular industrial unit with processing capacity of 300 tons of ore per day. Initially, feed for the plant will be supplied by tailings from the Dieu Merci site, which includes tailings formerly treated by gravity and stored in tanks near the future plant. These tailings represent a potential resource of approximately 900,000 tons of ore, including 500,000 tons already extracted and ground with gold content estimated to be approximately 4 g/t (non-audited data). An independent expert is currently working to certify the amount of gold contained in the Dieu Merci tailings and this work is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
Following the successful commissioning of the plant, Auplata will consider the potential for expanding the plant capacity by adding additional modular units.
The cost to construct and commission this plant is estimated to be €10 million. It will be financed Auplata's own cash on hand and through bank loans which the company is currently negotiating with FINANCIAL partners.
Auplata is the leading French gold producer based in French Guiana. In total, Auplata has mining permits and licences covering over 700 square kilometers in French Guiana. Auplata follows an innovative business and financial strategy, aimed at developing French Guiana's gold resources through close collaboration with local players. The company's goal is to offer sustainable operations for the French Guiana gold-mining industry.
Since June 2015, Auplata has held a stake in OMCI, an Ivorian mining company that owns two mining projects in Côte d'Ivoire.
Since June 2011, Auplata has held a stake in Columbus Gold, a Canadian gold exploration company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (Canada).
Auplata is listed on the Alternext market in Paris (Euronext). Auplata's share capital is made up of 37,463,881 shares. ISIN: FR0010397760 – ALAUP; ICB: 1777 – Gold Mining.
For more information about Auplata: www.auplata.fr.
Mathieu Omnes - Investor relations - + 33 1 53 67 36 92
Nicolas Bouchez - Press relations - + 33 1 53 67 36 74