The Wassa mine and oxide ore mill are located in the Wassa East District, in the Western Region of Ghana. Golden Star Wassa Ltd. (GSWL) owns the rights to mine the Wassa, Benso and Hwini-Butre concessions. Golden Star Resources Ltd. owns a 90% interest in GSWL, with the Government of Ghana owning the remaining 10%.
The Wassa open-pit operations commenced in 2005 and Wassa underground mine achieved commercial production in January 2017. In early 2018, Wassa transitioned into an underground-focused operation.
The Wassa mineralization is subdivided into a number of domains, namely: F Shoot, B Shoot, 242, South East, Starter, 419, Mid East, and Dead Man’s Hill. Each of these represents discontinuous segments of the main mineralized system. The South-Akyempim (SAK) deposits are located approximately 2 kilometers to the southwest of the Wassa Main deposit on the northern end of a well-defined mineralized trend parallel to the Wassa Main trend. The mineralization is hosted in highly altered multi-phased greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate veins interlaced with sedimentary pelitic units. The SAK mineralization is subdivided into a number of domains as well, SAK 1, 2 and 3.
The underground design utilizes a twin decline access from the base of the open-pit. The selected mining method is sublevel open-stoping utilizing unconsolidated waste backfill in the early stages and converting to cemented paste backfill in 2020. Mining is undertaken using trackless, diesel powered equipment including twin boom jumbos for development and long-hole drills for production drilling.
In July 2015, Royal Gold’s wholly-owned subsidiary, RGLD Gold AG, acquired a $130 million gold stream from a wholly-owned subsidiary of Golden Star Resources Ltd. (Golden Star). In December 2015, the parties executed an amendment providing for an additional $15 million investment (for a total investment of $145 million) by RGLD Gold AG.
Specifically, RGLD Gold AG owns the right to purchase 10.5% of the gold produced from the Wassa, Prestea and Bogoso mines, operated by Golden Star, until an aggregate 240,000 ounces from Wassa, Prestea and Bogoso have been delivered. A significant amount of the gold deliveries under the 10.5% gold stream are expected from the Wassa mine. Once the delivery threshold is met, the stream percentage will decrease to 5.5% for the remaining life of mine. The cash purchase price for gold is 20% of the spot price of gold per ounce delivered until the threshold is met, and 30% thereafter. Payable gold is calculated as 99.5% of contained gold in doré.
*Detailed information on our interest can be found on the Portfolio Asset Summary table