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Burkina Faso

Essakane (CIL, HL) Project

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Mine TypeOpen Pit
 Archived Information
  • Gold
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotThe IAMGOLD completed a study to assess the viability of the Essakane heap leach project. The test results suggested that stockpiled ore can be processed through the CIL circuit economically and as a result the IAMGOLD will not be pursuing the heap leach project.

Going forward, the heap leach process is excluded from Essakane’s reserves and the potential ore is classed as waste but segregated for future opportunities in case of more favorable economic conditions.
Related AssetEssakane


Government of Burkina Faso 10 % Indirect
IAMGOLD Corp. 90 % Indirect
IamGold owns 90% of the outstanding shares of IMG Essakane, while the Government of Burkina Faso has a 10% free-carried interest in the outstanding shares of IMG Essakane. IMG Essakane means IamGold Essakane S.A., the Company’s 90% subsidiary, established under the laws of Burkina Faso.

Deposit type

  • Orogenic
  • Vein / narrow vein


The Essakane Gold Mine occurs in the Paleoproterozoic Oudalan Gorouol greenstone belt in northeast Burkina Faso. The stratigraphy can be subdivided into a succession of lowergreenschist facies meta sediments (argillites, arenites, and volcaniclastics), conglomerate, and subordinate felsic volcanics, and an overlying Tarkwaian-like succession comprising siliciclastic meta-sediments and conglomerate. Each succession contains intercalated mafic intrusive units that collectively comprise up to 40% of the total stratigraphic section.

Gold prospects on the permits occur exclusively in Birimian rocks and are generally associated with quartz veining on the margins of mafic and intermediate sills. Exceptions are the Essakane main zone (EMZ) deposit and the Sokadie prospects (the latter on the Alkoma 2 permit). The EMZ deposit is characterized by quartz veining in a folded turbidite succession of arenite and argillite. At the Sokadie prospect, the veins occur in a sheared volcaniclastic unit between undeformed andesite and metasediments. Gold has generally been found to occur with quartz veining on the contacts of rock units with contrasted competency and as filling of brittle fractures in folded sediments.

The EMZ deposit is a greenstone hosted orogenic gold deposit. Specifically, it is a quartzcarbonate stockwork vein deposit hosted by a folded turbidite succession of arenite and argillite. The laminated sedimentary units are part of turbidite sequences. The regular laminated unit is composed of very regular alternating sandstone, siltstone, and grey-black argillite. The lateral extension of this unit is limited. The irregular laminated unit is thicker than the regular bed and is mainly composed of an argillite unit (more than 65% of the whole rock). This irregular laminated unit is also made of an alternating sequence of sandstone, siltstone, and poorly sorted argillite.

Gold occurs as free particles within the veins and is also intergrown with arsenopyrite +/- tourmaline on vein margins or in the host rocks. Disseminated arsenopyrite in the host rock rapidly decreases away from the veins and is strongly associated with the gold mineralization. The same relationship is seen away from lithological contacts, which generally show higher densities of bedding parallel veining. Oriented diamond core drilling shows that significant concentrations of gold with arsenopyrite can be found in the arenite-argillite lithological contacts in association with quartz veining or in veinlets of massive arsenopyrite. Deeper below the main arenite unit, significant concentrations of gold are found in association with coarse arsenopyrite in the argillitic unit. The gold particles occur without sulphides in the weathered saprolite. The gold is free milling in all associations.

The EMZ deposit is an anticlinal fold with flexural slips between layers and is westward thrusting along weakness planes parallel to bedding, with minor displacement.

The quartz veins fill brittle extension and shear deformation structures caused by the folding with at least three distinct sets of veins and two phases of quartz veining and gold mineralization.

The vein arrays in the EMZ deposit are complex and consist of the following:
• Early bedding parallel laminated quartz veins caused by flexural slip and showing ptygmatic folding.
• Late, steep extensional quartz veins as vein filling in extension and shear joints formed by the folding.
• Axial-planar pressure solution cleavage (with pressure solution seams normal and parallel to bedding). All veins may be displaced by two sets of late opposing thrusts.

The vein arrays occur in the east limb, fold hinge (or fold axis), and west limb lithostructural domains. The geology and economic potential of the EMZ deposit is dominated by the persistent east limb main arenite. The top contact of the east limb domain is a sharp, sheared contact with no significant gold mineralization above it. The shearing appears to be parallel to the bedding, however, some loss of vertical succession has occurred. The main arenite below this contact is the lower coarse grained part of a Bouma cycle. The locus of bedding-parallel deformation and alteration is within the east limb of the main arenite. Graphitic argillite occurs immediately above the contact. The deformation shifts into the hanging wall argillite unit to the north of the EMZ deposit.

Mineralization has been confirmed to over 550 m vertically below surface, however, the full depth extent in the fold hinge and east limb is still unknown. The geometry of the fold hinge zone is an anticlinal flexure that is easily recognized in the pit and oriented drill cores. The fold closure is sharp and sometimes truncated by thrusts and the transition from east limb to west limb takes place over a few metres. The position of the fold axis is often marked by a breccia in the arenite unit. The fold hinge zone in the argillite unit is marked by tight kink structures and sheath folds with rapid transitions from east dipping footwall rocks to near vertical west limb beds below the fold axial plane.

Arsenopyrite and pyrite occur within and adjacent to quartz veins as well as disseminated throughout areas of wall rock alteration. Traces of chalcopyrite, pyrrhotite, galena, and hematite occur with arsenopyrite. Minor amounts of tourmaline with rutile are found in the main arenite and in interbedded arenite stringers in the footwall argillite. Remobilized graphite can be found associated with tourmaline.

The fine-grained argillites can be strongly enriched in tourmaline and have also been subjected to quartz-carbonate, sericite, and quartz alteration. Fine needles of rutile are generally associated with the tourmaline. Sulphide mineralization preferentially occurs in the coarser arenaceous layers.

The EMZ deposit is characterized by multiple quartz and quartz-carbonate vein sets and stringers. Arsenopyrite and pyrite tend to be late and concentrated near the margins of the veins or in late cross-cutting stringers. The paragenetic sequence of veining is thought to be as follows:
• Early quartz-carbonate-albite-(sericite) veins
• Quartz veins with tourmaline and pyrite containing gold
• Diffuse quartz-albite-carbonate veins with arsenopyrite
• Later tourmaline-rutile-arsenopyrite stringers with gold
• Late skeletal pyrite and carbonate-quartz-pyrite stringers



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Gold koz 3,401
All production numbers are expressed as metal in doré.

Operational metrics

Annual mining capacity 55 Mt *
Waste tonnes, LOM 244.94 Mt *
Ore tonnes mined, LOM 100.26 Mt *
Total tonnes mined, LOM 345.2 Mt *
Tonnes processed, LOM 126.49 Mt *
* According to 2019 study.

Production Costs

Total cash costs (sold) Gold USD 778 / oz *  
All-in sustaining costs (sold) Gold USD 949 / oz *  
Assumed price Gold USD 1,350 / oz *  
* According to 2019 study / presentation.

Operating Costs

OP mining costs ($/t mined) USD 3.02 *  
G&A ($/t milled) USD  ....  Subscribe
* According to 2019 study.

Project Costs

MetricsUnitsLOM Total
Expansion CapEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Sustaining CapEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Closure costs $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Total CapEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax Cash Flow (LOM) $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax NPV @ 6% $M USD  ......  Subscribe

Heavy Mobile Equipment

Fleet data has not been reported.


Mine Management

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