Location and History
Launched in January 2013, Bissa was the first mine to be built by Nordgold in Africa. It is located approximately 85km north of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, and is accessible via Route Nationale 22, a tarmacked road connecting Kongoussi with Ouagadougou.
Bissa has grown into a world-class mine and the largest Nordgold operation in West Africa, reaching its full production capacity in just two months following launch. It is a multiple open-pit operation using a simple process flowsheet with robust Carbon-in-Leach (“CIL”) design well suited to the treatment of free milling gold.
In September 2016, Nordgold expanded its Bissa mine with the launch of a heap leach facility at the nearby Bouly deposit located only 5km away from Bissa on the border of Sabce and Mane rural communes. Bouly's construction and launch resulted from Nordgold's successful exploration programme which identified a large, low-grade gold deposit in the immediate proximity of the existing Bissa operation. The mine construction was completed on schedule and involved an investment of US$140 million with approximately a third of it spent on services and products provided by local businesses.
Bouly mine is a single open pit operation with all-season heap leach facilities. It is technologically integrated with Bissa for its final processing stages, including desorption, electro-winning and smelting, which all take place at the Bissa’s processing plant. Much of Bissa’s infrastructure, including the camp, canteen, laboratory and raw water reservoir (Tiben dam) are also shared by both operations.
Environmental considerations have been key since the beginning of Bissa and Bouly’s design and construction with the objective to make environmental stewardship at both mines exemplary. At Bissa, ores are naturally metallurgically clean and its tailings storage facilities, designed and built by Golders, ensure the safe containment of waste on site. The Bouly leach pad and associated drains and ponds were designed by Knight Piesold Australia in accordance with industry best practice and include the latest HDPE liner technology.
SUPPORTING BURKINA FASO
All mines operated by Nordgold in Burkina Faso (the combined Bissa-Bouly and Taparko) are co-owned by Nordgold and the Government of Burkina Faso, which controls 10% of the operations. Since 2008, when Nordgold first started operating in the country, we have been Burkina Faso's reliable partner and a major contributor to the country’s economic and social development.
Nordgold grew into one of the largest gold miners operating in Burkina Faso in little over a decade. As we produce close to 40% of our total gold output in the country, we are committed to its economic and social development. Nordgold's investment in Burkina Faso has exceeded US$1 billion. Additionally, since 2009, Nordgold has contributed over US$400 million to the government in the form of taxes and royalties.
As a major employer, we play an important economic role in driving a fair distribution of wealth. Our operations in Burkina Faso provide over 1,900 permanent jobs in total. 95% of our employees are Burkina Faso nationals, in accordance with the Company’s policy to actively hire and promote the citizens of our host countries.
At Nordgold, we act in a socially responsible way at all times and recognise local communities as one of our key stakeholders. We proactively seek their support and involvement in our projects and are proud of the contribution that our operations make to local communities, host provinces and nations. Nordgold’s concern for, and understanding of, the needs of local communities are an integral part of our approach to doing business wherever we operate. In addition to the thousands of jobs created and millions invested in our Burkina Faso operations, Nordgold has contributed approximately US$15 million in Burkina Faso to social development programmes since 2009 and we intend to continue this support into the future.
The Company’s extensive community development programmes in West Africa are specifically designed following consultation with the local people, with a focus on four priority themes: ‘Quality Education’, ‘Clean Water & Sanitation’, ‘Good Health’, and ‘Sustainable Cities & Communities’.
Community initiatives in Burkina Faso include construction of new quality homes for local communities, considerable investment in new infrastructure projects including roads, schools and health centres, as well as investment into agriculture and livestock and supporting the development of small businesses. These programmes are also directly related to helping local communities that live close to the semi-arid region of the Sahel to mitigate the impact of climate change. For example, the Tiben raw water reservoir near Nordgold’s Bissa and Bouly mines in Burkina Faso, also provides a valuable year round water source for the local communities farming activities, essential in an area impacted by climate change.