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Norway-based Akobo Minerals is confident that it will pour first gold from its flagship Segele project, in Ethiopia, by the fourth quarter of this year.

The company considers this a remarkable achievement, since many other gold companies listed on the Euronext exchange, in Oslo, have failed to advance projects to development.

Akobo remains the only gold company listed on the exchange at the moment.

After bringing the Segele project into production, the company will focus on developing the Joru project, also in Ethiopia, and thereafter pursue more prospects.

Up until October 2021, the company was focused purely on exploration with no intention of becoming a gold producer. However, this has changed after promising results from Segele.

Akobo has been exploring the project since 2009 on a sporadic basis, with limited funding being advanced by family and friends in Norway.

Then, in 2020, Akobo decided to do a final diamond drill programme based on new information it had acquired. The results proved that Segele is particularly gold-rich, with several bonanza grade sections.

“Our maiden resource estimate done by SRK Consulting indicates 52 000 oz at 20.9 g/t on average, which is fairly astonishing.

“When you combine those numbers with a scoping study that shows we can establish a small-scale mining operation with $8-million worth of capital investments and all-in sustaining costs of $243/oz, then the return on investment for our shareholders suddenly became quite significant,” explains CEO Jørgen Evjen.

In October 2021, Akobo received a large-scale gold mining licence for Segele, taking the company one step further in what is expected to be an underground mine from near surface to 200 m+, with a 27-month life-of-mine and with the ore being accessed via an incline shaft.

The company aims to produce 3 500 oz of gold a month at peak production, with plans to double the production rate once new reserves are discovered.

The mine plant will be a turnkey solution comprising a grinder, concentrator and cyanide leach containers.

Akobo will manage the processing plant but will appoint a mining contractor to do the mining.

“We have already received quotes from a few companies and I am confident that we will start producing gold by the end of this year,” notes Evjen.