Endeavour ups Ity mine stake in deal with soccer star

The processing plant for Endeavour Mining’s Houndé Mine in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Source: Endeavour Mining Corp.

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The processing plant for Endeavour Mining’s Houndé Mine in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Source: Endeavour Mining Corp.

Endeavour Mining Corp. [EDV-TSX; EDVMF-OTCWX] said Friday January 11 that it has increased its ownership stake in the Ity Mine in Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa to 85% from 80% after striking a deal with one of the world’s best known soccer players, Didier Drogba.

In exchange for the additional 5% interest in the Ity Mine, Endeavour granted DYD International Holdings Ltd. (a company owned by the former Chelsea soccer player), 1.07 million shares worth US$15 million, based on the signing reference share price of $18.50. Drogba, now retired,  is among the world’s best known soccer players. He captained Cote d’Ivoire national team and is that country’s all-time top scorer

He was also named African footballer of the Year in 2006 and 2009 and played in Canada for the Montreal Impact in 2015.

A Reuters report said Drogba took a 5% stake in the mine in 2013 in a sign of his increasing engagement in his homeland.

Following this transaction, Endeavour owns 85% of the Ity Mine, with the Government of Cote d’Ivoire owning 10% and SODEMI (a government-owned mining company) holding the remaining 5%.

Endeavour Mining has five mines in West Africa. Its Burkina Faso assets include the Houndé gold mine, which the company said is positioned to be its flagship low cost mine. The company is forecasting average production at Houndé of 235,000 ounces at an All-In Sustaining Cost of US$610 an ounce.

The Karma Mine in north-central Burkina Faso, near the city of Ouahigouya, reached the commercial production stage in October 2016, and produced 97,982 ounces in 2017.

The company is forecasting total gold production of up to 670,000-720,000 ounces this year at an all-in sustaining cost of US$840-890 an ounce.

A $412 million upgrade, approved in 2017, is expected to extend the life of the Ity Mine by 14 years, producing approximately 204,000 ounces annually for the first 10 years at an all-in-sustaining cost of US$549 an ounce.  That estimate is based on existing reserves of 2.9 million ounces.

The mine site is located 480 km northwest of Abidjan in southern Cote d’Ivoire. First production at the Ity Mine is expected by the second quarter of 2019.

On Friday, Endeavour shares rose 0.18% or $0.04 to $21.78. The 52-week range is $16.34 and $26.86.

Endeavour Mining recently announced a significant maiden resource estimate for the previously announced Kari Pump discovery at its flagship Houndé Mine in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

Kari Pump’s one million ounce maiden indicated resource increases the measured and indicated resource at Houndé by 40%, the company said in a press release. The indicated resource is 11.3 million tonnes at 2.71 g/t gold or 987,000 ounces. On top of that is an inferred resource of 200,000 tonnes at 2.21 g/t gold or 20,000 ounces.

This indicated grade compares favourably to Houndé s indicated grade of 2.05 g/t gold. Kari Pump is amenable to open pit mining as mineralization begins at surface. The deposit is located only 7 km west of the processing plant. It is one of three high-grade discoveries made in the large Kari gold in soil anomaly which covers an area spanning 6 by 2.5 km.

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