April 22, 2013 / 2:32 PM / in 5 years

Endeavour's Ivory Coast gold project on track despite price slip

ABIDJAN, April 22 (Reuters) - Toronto-listed Endeavour Mining Corp said its Agbaou gold project in Ivory Coast remained on track for completion by the end of the year, unaffected by a record drop in the price of gold.

Last week spot gold tumbled more than $125, or nearly 9 percent, on April 15, a record one-day loss in dollar terms that sent shockwaves through the industry. It reached a two-year low the next day of around $1,321 an ounce.

It has since recovered to as high as $1,436.70 per ounce on Monday as the low prices have attracted interest in physical buying.

“The current decline in the gold price will not affect our plans for Agbaou, but we hope that the price will return to sustain reasonable profits next year,” Endeavour Chief Executive Neil Woodyer said in an interview on Monday.

“We will invest $160 million in Agbaou and are currently on schedule and on budget to complete development by the end of 2013,” he said.

Construction previously was scheduled to wrap up in the first quarter of 2014, according to the company’s website.

Endeavour holds 85 percent of the Agbaou mine, with the remaining 15 percent belonging to the Ivorian state.

Woodyer said the company expected to pour the first gold from the mine early next year.

“We currently see the mine producing around 100,000 ounces per year over a mine life of at least eight years,” he said.

Woodyer forecast total output from Endeavour’s four mines in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali and Ivory Coast at around 450,000 ounces in 2014.

Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa grower, aims to expand its mining industry, left underdeveloped for decades as the government concentrated its efforts on its agricultural commodities sector.

Total gold production stood at around 12 tonnes last year, and the government has forecast annual output reaching around 25 tonnes by 2015 as new mines come on stream.

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