The Youga Gold Project is located in the Nahouri province of southern Burkina Faso, approximately 180 km south of the capital, Ouagadougou and 5 km north of the country’s southern border with Ghana.
The mine has been in production since 2008, with a plant designed to process 1 Mtpa of ore using conventional CIL technology and disposal of the tailings to a tailings storage facility (TSF). The original TSF had a capacity for eight years. However, due to a review of the life of mine, it was considered that as a minimum tailings storage would be required until 2019 and that there was a potential for further ore to be produced from additional exploration both on the mining permit and proximal exploration concessions. Consequently, Knight Piésold was requested to conduct a study to look at tailings disposal options.
Knight Piésold was presented with a number of different scenarios for life of mine production. The main objective of the study was to re-evaluate the capacity of the existing design; to see whether it could be expanded and by how much; and then also to consider whether the most appropriate options for expansion were to be vertical, lateral, or on a new TSF site.
As the throughput was relatively small and the life of mine uncertain, the study evaluated that to build a new facility would be more costly and would have a greater environmental impact. Knight Piésold took forward two options for expansion (vertical and lateral) and provided a cost/benefit analysis. It was concluded that although both options were equally viable (when given appropriate levels of site investigation and analysis), it was concluded that lateral expansion along with the necessary underdrainage, seepage control (including HDPE liners), additional land uptake, would only be required after additional mineral resources had been delineated through exploration and converted to ore reserves.