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West African gold producer Tietto Minerals Limited (ASX: TIE) has completed process plant commissioning at its wholly-owned 4.5Mtpa Abujar Gold Mine in Côte d’Ivoire.

Abujar became West Africa’s newest gold mine after it poured first gold on 14 January 2023.

Since 15th February 2023, the mine has operated on grid power, with the process plant performing well on oxide ore, processing more than 11,000 dry tons per day on wet oxide material. Nameplate tonnages on fresh rock are expected to be consistently achieved in the June Quarter.

Abujar’s SAG mill is performing well, with low power draw on oxide ore. All reagent and consumable consumptions are at or below levels predicted in the Abujar DFS.

Initially, Abujar is processing lower grade oxide ore mainly from largely depleted artisanal mining zones prior to accessing the higher-grade fresh ore from the AG Main Pit in April 2023. Mining production is now ramping up, after initial difficult ground conditions for mining and encountering underground artisanal workings, as anticipated. The impact of both factors will diminish as mining deepens and fresh rock ore mining commences in early April. Blasting of fresh material commenced with the first blast completed safely on 14 March 2023.

Abujar’s Management Team continues to focus on optimizing the performance of the Abujar Gold Mine as it ramps up gold production.

Tietto has zero gold hedging and has delivered its first gold pour at Abujar. The Abujar DFS forecast 260,000oz gold in its first full year of production.

Appointment of Chief Operating Officer Matthew Wilcox as Executive Director

Tietto has promoted Chief Operating Officer Matthew Wilcox to Executive Director, in addition to his current role, after directing the on-time and below budget construction at Abujar. Mr Wilcox replaces Mark Strizek in the role with Mr Strizek stepping down after more than five years at Tietto.

Mr Wilcox joined Tietto as Chief Operating Officer in January 2021 to drive the development of the Abujar Gold Project. Prior to joining Tietto, Mr Wilcox delivered West African Resources’ 250,000ozpa Sanbrado Gold Mine ahead of schedule and under budget, and operated the mine for West African as its Chief Operating Officer. Prior to West African, Mr Wilcox spent eight years constructing and operating CIL and Heap Leach gold mines for Nord Gold including the 4Mtpa Bissa Gold Project and 8Mtpa Bouly Gold Project, both in Burkina Faso, the 6Mtpa LEFA Gold Project in Guinea, and the 12Mtpa Gross Gold Project in Siberia. There is presently no change to Mr Wilcox’s existing remuneration.

“Matt Wilcox and his team have overseen the construction and long-term operation of some of the largest CIL and Heap Leach gold projects in West Africa,” Chairman, Francis Harper, said.

“His Team’s extraordinary achievement in bringing the Abujar Gold Mine into production on time and below budget in the height of Covid-19 and during a period of rapidly escalating construction costs cannot be overstated. His operating and financial skills are first class and we are delighted that he has accepted the position of Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer as Tietto ramps up to full gold production during the first half of 2023 and we progress advanced studies into the heap leach potential for a substantial second mine at Abujar.

“Executive Director Mark Strizek will leave the company after overseeing rapid resource growth and project development from his appointment in 2017, and the Board thanks him for his contribution to the growth of the company during this time.”

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