The Hassai gold deposits are hosted within the Proterozoic-aged Ariab greenstone belt. The country rocks include basic and acidic volcanic rocks, tuffs and greywackes that are intruded by late granites. Several mineralised deposits are hosted within specific stratigraphic units of the Ariab series.
The Ariab series is structurally divided into five units. Unit A is the basalt unit intruded by diorite and gabbro. Andesitic and dacitic lavas along with pyroclastic rocks are hosted in Unit B, a thick intermediate unit. The third unit designated C is acidic in nature and includes sodium-rich rhyolitic and rhyodacitic lavas, tuffs and domes. This unit is further segmented into two subunits C1 and C2.
The main mineralised lithostratigraphic interval in the series is unit D that contains massive sulphide and gold deposits. The unit is between 10m and 100m-thick and discontinuous. It mostly forms the top part of the massive sulphides. It includes intermediate-mafic lavas that lie above the acidic volcanic rocks of the C2 subunit of unit C. Unit E includes a thick complex of sedimentary rocks that overlie the volcanic rocks. Sedimentary rocks in this unit have been metamorphosed into greenschist facies.
La Mancha Resources, through its subsidiary, owns 40% of the mine. The remaining is held by Ariab Mining Company, which is also the operator.
The Hassai gold mine is an open-pit mine located in the Red Sea Hills desert in north-eastern Sudan, approximately 50km from Khartoum. It is the only gold producing mine in Sudan. It began operations in 1992 and has produced 2.3 million ounces (Moz) of gold to date from 18 open pits.
A 160km pipeline with a designed carrying capacity of 7.7 million cubic metres of water per year is in the planning stage. To cut costs, a single pipeline will be constructed instead of two smaller pipelines.
It will provide sufficient water to support a 5mtpa flotation plant that might be added to process the ore from the VMS deposits. Approximately 4.1 million cubic metres of water will be annually required for the processing activity.
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