Melbourne-domiciled Mineral Deposits Ltd (ASX: MDL; TSX: MDM), which had several name changes in the late 1990s, said Thursday that it had poured its first gold dore bars from the Sabodala project this week.Sabadola, in south east Senegal near the Mali border, has begun its life on a stockpile of 1 million tonnes of ore that is expected to produce 80,000 ounces of gold. There are eight gold mines in Mali, some of which are on the same structural trend as Sabadola.Mineral Deposits Chairman Nick Limb said the 2 million tonnes per annum plant was expected to produce 160,000 oz by the end of this year.Limb said that from first drilling four years ago the project has moved well into production and will be 90% owned by the company with the Senegal Government holding a mandatory 10% stake.This was, he said, the first substantial mining operation in Senegal for many years.The Sabadola mining licence runs north-south for 7 kilometres and 3 km east-west and covers about 20.3 square km.Intierra's Minmet data base shows that the project has proven-probable reserves of 24.4 million tonnes grading 2.07 grams/tonne and measured-to-indicated resources of 42.7 Mt @ 1.37 g/t gold. If fully converted to reserves this represents more than 3.4 M oz of gold.
The company holds between 70-80% equity in a series of large gold targets in the north-west Sabadola region, is earning a stake in another prospect in Senegal called Sonkounkou. It also has substantial mineral sand projects on and near the Senegal coast with the most advanced being Grande Cote, 75 km from Dakar.Nick Limb is a well known Australian company developer who began life as an exploration geologist before moving to stockbroking. His deputy chairman is a well known figure in Africa and Australia - former Anglo American and De Beers executive Bobby Danchin.