Location and History



Bissa is a world class mine launched in January 2013. The mine reached industrial scales of production within the first month of operation and full capacity after only 6 months.

Bissa mine fully paid back the investment within 21 months after the launch.

The Bissa mine is located approximately 85km north of Ouagadougou, the Capital City of Burkina Faso.

Bissa is accessible in about 1½ hours via Route Nationale 22, a tarmacked road, connecting Kongoussi to Ouagadougou. The airport at Ouagadougou has flight connections to the major cities in Europe. There is a railway from the port of Abijan, Cote d’Ivoire to Kaya, but the political instability in Cote d’Ivoire means that most of the freight destined for Burkina Faso arrives at Tema, Ghana.

The climate is characterised by a wet season extending from June to September with the heaviest rains in August, and mean annual rainfall between 400 and 600mm. Typical daytime temperatures range from 25°C in December to 45°C in May, dropping about 10°C at night. No surface accumulations of water remain throughout the year except for man-made storage reservoirs.


Nordgold expanded its flagship Bissa mine with the launch of a heap leach operation at the nearby Bouly deposit in September 2016.

The Bouly mine reached full production capacity in just two month after launch.

Bouly’s average annual production will be approximately 120 koz over a life of mine of 10 years. According to the Feasibility Study, the IRR for Bouly is approximately 40% and the payback period is about 30 months at a gold price of US$1,250 per oz.

Bouly is located within 5 km of Nordgold’s Bissa mine on the border of the rural communes of Sabce and Mane, 100 km north of the capital, Ouagadougou. It is operated by Bissa’s management team.

Bouly is the result of a green field development initiative at Nordgold and successful exploration programme which identified a large, low-grade gold deposit. The project construction was completed on schedule and and involved an investment US$140 million, of which approximately 30% was spent on services and products provided by local companies.

Bouly shares much of Bissa’s existing infrastructure, including camp and mess facilities, the laboratory and the raw water reservoir (Tiben dam). The proximity of Bouly to Bissa enables it to benefit from economies of scale, expert knowledge of the local geology, and a well-trained workforce.

Nordgold has an interest in the Bissa gold mine through their 100% stake in High River Gold (HRGWA). Bissa Gold SA, which owns both the Bissa mine and Bouly deposit, is 90% owned by Nordgold through HRGWA and 10% by the state of Burkina Faso.

Supporting Burkina Faso Economy

The launch of Bouly confirms Nordgold’s position as the second largest gold producer in Burkina Faso, with total production of approximately 400 koz per year.

Nordgold is a major contributor to the Burkina Faso economy and has invested US$850 million in the country between 2009-2016. In 2015, Nordgold’s income tax payments alone represented 5% of Burkina Faso’s entire income tax collected that year.

Bissa-Bouly payments to the goverement in 2013-2016 stood at approximately US$156 million in taxes, royalties and indirect taxes, which made a significant contribution to the social infrastructure of Burkina Faso.

Bouly’s contribution to the state in terms of taxes and other duties to be in the region of US$120 million for the 10-year period excluding state revenue derived from fuel tax.

The combined Bissa-Bouly operations created more than 1400 permanent jobs. Nordgold’s policy is to actively hire and promote citizens of Burkina Faso in all its operations in the country and therefore Bissa-Bouly employs 95% of nationals and only about 5% of expatriates. As a major employer, our mines have an important economic role to play in driving the distribution of wealth.

Nordgold’s concern for, and awareness of, the needs of the local community is an integral part of its presence in all of the regions in which it operates. At Bouly, the main project in terms of infrastructure is the relocation of the villages within the project impact zone. The overall resettlement budget exceeded US$10 million, which included new houses and infrastructure construction, compensation paid to local communities, as well as livelihood restoration programmes. Through its resettlement programme at Bouly, Nordgold aims to improve both the living conditions and livelihoods of those affected.

Bissa contributed approximately US$1 million on social development programmes since it was launched in 2013 and the Company intends to increase its investments next years.

For more information, please see 2015 Bissa report on community relations (French only)

Operating and Financial Highlights


2016 2015 2014 2013
Run of mine (kt) 38,645 25,009 20,776 27,824
Waste mined (kt) 34,697 20,464 16,987 23,288
Ore mined (kt) 3,948 4,545 3,789 4,536
Stripping ratio (tn/tn) 8.79 4.50 4.48 5.13
Ore processed (kt) 4,184 4,097 3,756 3,387
Grade (g/t) 1.54 1.94 2.45 2.67
Recovery (%) 88.4 86.9 88.9 88.9
Gold production (koz) 185.8 235.3 250.7 254.3
Gold sold (koz) 185.8 235.2 250.8 254.3
Average realised gold price per ounce sold (US$/oz) 1,241 1,165 1,269 1,375
Revenue* (US$m) 257.0 274.2 318.2 349.8
EBITDA* (US$m) 119.5 157.9 195.9 227.0
Total Cash Cost * (US$/oz) 659 493 455 468
AISC * (US$/oz) 828 584 570 541


Run of mine (kt) 8,651
Waste mined (kt) 5,133
Ore mined (kt) 3,518
Stripping ratio (tn/tn) 1.46
Ore processed (kt) 3,292
Grade (g/t) 0.68
Recovery (%) 83.0
Gold production (koz) 28.1
Gold sold (koz) 28.1
Average realised gold price per ounce sold (US$/oz) 1,213
  • Notes:
    • Bissa and Bouly operating results are reported separately, while the respective financial results of the two mines have been consolidated since Bouly launch in 2016. The reason for this is the mines have a separate mining stage and first stages of processing, but operate under a combined later stage of processing and smelting, as well as operating under a single management team, therefore making them a single cash generating unit.

Ore Reserves and Mineral Resources (31 December 2016)


Category Ore (Kt) Grade (g/t) Au (Koz)
Proven and Probable 39,787 1.54 1,972
Measured and Indicated 46,299 1.50 2,222
Inferred 8,887 1.40 400
Total (M+I+I) 55,186 1.48 2,622


Category Ore (Kt) Grade (g/t) Au (Koz)
Proven and Probable 114,343 0.44 1,628
Measured and Indicated 210,234 0.50 3,362
Inferred 35,414 0.49 553
Total (M+I+I) 245,648 0.50 3,915

For more information, please see Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves Press Release

Bissa Technology


The Bissa process flowsheet is a simple, robust Carbon-in-Leach (“CIL”) design, well suited to the treatment of free milling gold.

The process consists of primary crushing before feeding to a SAG/Ball («SAB») grinding circuit, classification of the ground slurry product, thickening, leaching and carbon adsorption for recovery of the soluble gold and silver. The loaded carbon will be eluted using the AARL process and the precious metals electrowon onto stainless steel wool cathodes. The tailings is then sent to a TSF storage facility and water recycled back to the process All of the plant and equipment at Bissa is state of the art and new.


A well-established base camp is located to the immediate east of the Bissa process plant and includes accommodation for about 180 people. In addition an admin office, laboratory and workshop/warehouse have also been constructed together with a haul road system.The project operates on a fly-in fly-out basis. A water management system comprising several sediment and water storage dams and a propose built raw water dam (Tiben Dam) clarifiers have been constructed. The Tiben raw water dam also provides a valuable year round water source to the local communities.


Power is supplied from a 21MW heavy fuel oil (HFO) power power station located onsite.


Nordgold’s objective is that Bissa become an example of environmental excellence. The Bissa ores are naturally metallurgically clean and an industry tailings storage facilities designed and built by Golders ensures containment of waste products on site. Environmental considerations rank high in all aspects of the project’s development.

Contribution to the Nation

As Contractors to the Burkina Faso Government regarding the development of national mineral resources within the mine lease, the Company’s operating subsidiaries are obligated to ensure maximum benefit to nationals. The Company endeavours to act at all times in a sociably responsible way and recognises the local community as stakeholders in the project. It seeks their support and involvement in the project and is proud of the contribution that the project can make to the local community, province and nation.

Milling and Classification
Bissa’s open pit operations use conventional surface mining methods involving drilling and blasting, followed by load and haul. Ore from the mine is brought to ROM pad, stockpiled and blend and fed to the crusher to begin the first stage of processing. The crusher breaks down the large pieces of ore into smaller pieces. There a single stage of crushing, at Bissa. Following crushing, the ore is transported along a conveyor to the processing plant for grinding. The ore is fed into a semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill mixed together with water and agitated by steel balls, this process grinds the ore into slurry. The ore is ground through a combination of the mill’s rotation and the impact of the steel balls. Ore passes to a ball mill for further grinding, the ore may pass through the grinding process several times until it has reached a particle size of less than 75 microns. After each pass, the ore is sized through cyclones and then pumped onto the next stage of the process.
Cyanide leaching and sorption
The leaching circuit, also referred to as Carbon-in-Leach (CIL), is where cyanide is added to dissolve the gold. In this part of the process the gold is dissolved, though the cyanidation of the milled ore then adsorbed out of the slurry solution and onto carbon molecules. Carbon has a very large surface area and therefore can absorb large amounts of gold. The residual cyanide solution is recycled back into the process. Cyanide usage is carefully monitored and controlled to minimise any safety and environmental risks.
Following the leaching circuit the gold is chemically stripped for the carbon. In a process called elution, a mixture of caustic and cyanide is used to extract the gold from the carbon, resulting in a concentrated gold solution. This solution is then transferred to the gold room for the final stages of processing.
Before the gold is smelted and poured into the moulds, the gold solution has an electric current applied, forcing the gold to precipitate on the stainless steel cathodes. This process is called electronwinning. The gold sludge is removed from the steel cathodes, filtered and dried before smelting.
The gold is smelted and poured into ingot moulds to produce dore (unrefined gold bars). This gold is the transferred to third parties for further refinement and sale of final product.

Bouly Technology

The Bouly deposit represents a large, low-grade gold mineralisation, favourable for heap leach treatment. Bouly is a single open pit operation. The ore is crushed with primary jaw and secondary cone crushers, followed by agglomeration before stacking on HDPE lined pad for irrigation with sodium cyanide leach solution. Bouly utilises mining equipment and jaw crushers similar to that of Bissa, to standardise stock holding and optimise maintenance costs.

Bouly will benefit from the low cost mining operations due to an excellent average LOM stripping ratio of 0.7 t/t and straightforward heap leach metallurgy with superior gold recovery at 83%. Bouly has its own all-season heap leach facilities with final processing stages, including desorption, electro-winning and smelting taking place at the Bissa’s processing plant.


Bouly shares much of Bissa’s existing infrastructure, including camp and mess facilities, the laboratory and the raw water reservoir (Tiben dam).

The proximity of Bouly to Bissa enables it to benefit from economies of scale, expert knowledge of the local geology, and a well-trained workforce.


Nordgold’s objective is that Bouly follows Bissa’s high environmental standards and becomes an example of environmental excellence. The Bouly project received a decree on environment compliance granted by the Burkina Faso Ministry of Environment, the Green Economy and Climate Change.

The leach pad and associated drains and ponds were designed by Knight Piesold Australia in accordance with international standards, utilising the best industry technology, including an HDPE liner.

Environmental considerations were key in all aspects of the project’s development.

2017 Deliveries

  • Bouly to achieve levels of gold production of approximately 110 koz in 2017.
  • To benefit from 2016 investments in the Bissa open pits cutback programmes realised in order to enable ore supply from pits to match the expected annual plant capacity in 2017.
  • Bissa will mine ore from the South West, IO, Zone 51, Zone 52 and Gougre pits in 2017.
  • Bissa will be focused on the mining efficiency and productivity, as pits increase in depth and more fresh rock is mined.
  • The 7th leach tank commissioned at Bissa in October 2016 will increase residence time and help to maintain recoveries at approximately 87% in 2017, while processing lower recovery harder ores.
  • The mining licence applications for the Bissa satellite pits Ronguen and Zinigma are progressing through the regulatory process. Contracts were awarded for feasibility & environmental studies for the Yimiougou and Noungou satellite pits, and upon their completion Mining Licence applications will be submitted in mid-2017.


Anastasia Shatskaya

Acting Head of Media Relations
tel.+7 495 644 44 73 #707 6697

Irina Dormidontova

tel.+7 495 644 44 73


tel.+7 495 644 4473 #707 6746