Mako Project


  • 150km2 permit in Senegal
  • 1moz reserve 


  • DFS completed in 2015
  • Industry Standard CIL Process Route


  • ESIA completed in 2015
  • Open pit mining at good grades and moderate strip ratio



Mako Project Overview

The Mako project is situated in eastern Senegal within the prolific “Kenieba Window” geological unit that hosts multiple world class gold mining operations - including the Sabodala mine in Senegal some 40km from the project area. The project is accessed via the main national Dakar – Bamako highway and lies approximately 5km from this metalled main road. The Mako exploration permit the licence covers some 150km².

The permit was essentially untested prior to the Company’s involvement and initial work through 2010/2011 identified several anomalies across multiple zones, but the Petowal prospect in the west of the licence proved most prospective.

Successive drilling campaigns from 2011 to 2015 completed some 52,000m of core drilling. Based on the drilling results and the associated Resource estimates the Company has completed several technical studies: a Scoping Study in 2013, a Pre-Feasibility Study in 2014 and a Definitive Feasibility Study in 2015.

In parallel, a dedicated in house team working with independent consultants has been collecting Environmental and Social baseline data since 2012, providing a comprehensive understanding of the project’s setting and a strong basis for the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment which was completed in 2015.

The DFS and ESIA support the development of a project at Mako based on an initial 8 year life. However, identified exploration targets have the potential to increase the project life and they will be investigated in due course.


Definitive Feasibility Study

Headed by Russell White as the Study Manager, the DFS team comprised of a group of internationally respected consultants wha have significant relevant experience. The group is summarised in the table below: 

Cube Consulting  Geology
SRK Cardiff Pit Geotech and Hydrogeology 
Coffey  Mining
Lycopodium  Metallurgy, Process Route Design, Project Infrastructure, Study Manager
Knight piesold Tailings, Waste Dump, WSD, Water balance
ECG Power Generation 
Earth Systems ESIA
RePlan RAP / Social 
The Biodiversity Consultancy  No Net Loss Strategy


DFS Overview

  • A Mineral Resource of 22.85mt at 1.83g/t Au for 1,345koz contained Au classified and reported in accordance with JORC 2012 guidelines;
  • Open pit mining operation employing a conventional mining method of drill and blast followed by a truck and shovel, assuming Contract Mining ;
  • An ore Reserve, classified and reported in accordance with the JORC 2012 guidelines  of 13.9mt at 2.22g/t Au for 996koz  of contained gold has been reported at an average LoM strip ratio of 5.4(waste):1.0(ore);
  • A 1.8mtpa capacity Carbon-In-Leach (“CIL”) processing facility with an average life of mine (“LoM”) recovery of 89.6% at a target grind of P(80) 125µm;
  • A production schedule averages in excess of 140koz pa Au for first 5 years of operations at average processed grade of 2.72g/t Au.
  • A Water Storage Dam with a capacity of 924,000 cubic metres based on abstraction from the Gambia River for 4-7 months per year;
  • A lined Tailings Management Facility (“TMF”) comprising a full compacted soil liner with an additional partial HDPE liner;
  • A 14 MW Diesel fuelled power plant operated on an Independent Power producer (“IPP”) basis;
  • A Camp accommodation facility of 130 beds; and,
  • A hybrid EPCM / Self perform construction strategy for development.

Economic Parameters

  • Development Capex of US$170M that includes both contingency (US$16.2m) and working capital (US$4.5m);
  • LoM sustaining and closure capital of US$31.5M;
  • LoM average All In Sustaining Cost (“AISC”) of US$794/oz; and,
  • On a 100% ownership and assuming US$1,150/oz gold price an NPV(5%) of US$100M and an IRR of 21%


Environmental and Social Impact Assessment

Environmental and social baseline studies for the Mako Project commenced in late 2012, including specialist studies in terrestrial and aquatic ecology; archaeology and cultural heritage; air quality and noise; land use and livelihood; hydrology, hydrogeology and water quality.

An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the Mako Project was completed in July 2015.  

ESIA Overview

  • The assessment and management of environmental and social risks and impacts has been integral to the Project design. The Project has adopted the mitigation hierarchy to anticipate and avoid, or where avoidance is not possible, minimise, and where residual impacts remain, compensate / offset for impacts to affected communities and the environment;
  • The ESIA has been undertaken to satisfy the requirements of both Senegalese legislation and international standards, in particular the IFC Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability;
  • The Project can be built, operated and closed in a manner that does not compromise the community, existing economic values or the surrounding environment;
  • The Project can provide a significant economic and skill development benefit to the people and country of Senegal;
  • There is no requirement for the resettlement of affected communities and only limited economic displacement associated with land acquisition in the Project area;
  • There is strong community and institutional support for the Project.  Goodwill has been established through the strong and consistent engagement that the Project has had with the Government and local communities;
  • The geochemical risk to water quality management and closure associated with waste rock and tailings was found to be low;
  • The TMF is designed, and will be managed, so that it will not discharge to receiving waters during operations; and
  • The ecological environment is sensitive due to the proximity of the Project to the Niokolo Koba National Park and Gambia River, which will necessitate a biodiversity offset to ensure that the Project will lead to a positive biodiversity legacy.

Environmental and Social Investment

The Company is committed to share the benefit of its activities with its host communities through responsible Project design and development, including social investment.  

Key achievements under the Mako Project Social Investment Programme since its commencement in early 2013 have included:

  • Establishment of irrigated vegetable market gardens, providing a significant source of cash income to the direct benefit of over 85 producers and their families;
  • Installation of groundwater boreholes providing a secure source of potable water for over 750 persons;
  • Reinstatement of community health services to the benefit of over 3,000 persons in partnership with regional health authorities;
  • Distribution of learning materials to elementary and secondary schools, including the initiation of a literacy program;
  • Refurbishment of a motorised cereal mill to alleviate the work requirement for women to process cereal crops.

The Company has also initiated various pilot programmes to demonstrate opportunities to intensify agricultural production through the application of proven technologies that are not widely practiced in the local area.

These activities are executed in partnership with local communities and administrative authorities in accordance with their development priorities. Through its Social Investment Programme the Company aims to identify successful models in community development and partner with local actors to replicate these models to the benefit of a broader stakeholder group.

The Company also made investment in the Mako Biodiversity Fund, which was established in agreement with the management authority for the Niokolo-Koba National Park. The Biodiversity Fund has contributed to the following initiatives:

  • Large mammal population count comprising terrestrial and airborne survey techniques;
  • Rehabilitation and maintenance program for vehicular tracks within the National Park to enable access for the purpose of environmental monitoring, tourism and anti-poaching patrols;
  • Specialist training and scholarship program for personnel of the National Park.

In consultation with national stakeholders, the Company is investigating opportunities for the Mako Project to catalyse broad and long-term institutional investment in the management of the National Park.