Location and History


Taparko was the first gold mine built in Burkina Faso. Mining at Taparko commenced in 2005, with the first gold poured in late 2007.

Taparko mine is located in the Namantenga province of Burkina Faso in West Africa, approximately 200km northeast of Ouagadougou, the Capital City of Burkina Faso.

The principle road to Taparko is fully tarmacked, allowing a journey time of approximately two hours from Ouagadougou. The Bouroum mine site, a satellite of Taparko, is located approximately 49km northwest of the main Taparko site where all the mining and milling facilities are located. It is accessible from Taparko via a gravel road.

The airport at Ouagadougou has flight connections to all 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 meaning an annual rainfall of 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 acquired control over Taparko mine in August 2008. The mine is operated by SOMITA SA, a company 90% owned by Nordgold’s subsidiary High River Gold. The remaining 10% belongs to the Government of Burkina Faso.

Taparko production increased by 34% in 2016 to 111.2 thousand ounces.

Supporting Burkina Faso Economy

Taparko payments in 2009-2016 stood at more than US$120 million in taxes, royalties and indirect taxes, which made a significant contribution to the social infrastructure of Burkina Faso.

We contributed approximately US$202 thousand on social development programmes in 2016 and we will match that next years.

Nordgold's investments in Burkina Faso have reached US$850 million since 2009.

Taparko offers strong potential to increase reserves and life of mine through the development of Yeou and Goengo deposits and provides long term value to local communities and the country’s economy.

In 2017, Nordgold jointly with the Embassy of France in Burkina Faso have decided to support the Association of Women in the Mining Sector of Burkina Faso (AFEMIB), which will implement a project focused on a creation of income-generating activities for woman at the Taparko satellite deposit Yeou.

For more information please see press release (French only)

Operating and Financial Highlights

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
Run of mine (kt) 20,198 19,800 14,736 16,288 12,172 11,239 10,770
Waste mined (kt) 18,204 18,814 12,748 14,722 10,337 9,782 9,421
Ore mined (kt) 1,994 987 1,988 1,567 1,835 1,457 1,349
Stripping ratio (tn/tn) 9.13 19.07 6.4 9.4 6.4 6.7 7.0
Ore processed (kt) 1,636 1,657 1,767 1,366 1,580 1,421 1,274
Grade (g/t) 2.54 1.82 2.34 2.99 3.09 3.27 3.47
Recovery (%) 83.1 82.2 85.9 80.5 82.1 84.4 90.2
Gold production (koz) 111.2 83.2 112.0 108.4 126.7 132.5 127.2
Gold sold (koz) 111.6 82.7 111.7 108.5 126.8 132.5 127.2
Average realised gold price per ounce sold (US$/oz) 1,252 1,152 1,267 1,400 1,672 1,549 1,236
Revenue (US$/m) 139.7 95.2 141.5 151.9 212.0 205.3 157.3
EBITDA (US$/m) 58.8 13.2 59.1 55.1 124.1 135.2 105.7
Total Cash Costs (US$/oz) 690 1,002 705 771 611 476 393
AISC (US$/oz) 1,045 1,410 919 1,238 - - -

Ore Reserves and Mineral Resources Summary (31 December 2015)

Category Ore (Kt) Grade (g/t) Au (Koz)
Proven and Probable 5,825 2.10 394
Measured and Indicated 11,288 2.10 764
Inferred 2,480 1.95 155
Total (M+I+I) 13,768 2.08 920

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


The mine comprised four open pits alongside a processing plant, ball milling facility and CIL circuits. An additional cyclone unit was added to the CIL circuit to increase processing capacity and management has significantly expanded the fleet of trucks used for transporting ore to the processing plant. The site also has waste rock dumps, tailing containment areas, and a water management system, as well as accommodation for more than 600 workers.

Milling and Classification
Nordgold’s open pit operations use conventional surface mining methods involving drilling and blasting, followed by a load and haul process allowing for selective mining of the ore. Ore from the pit is then transported to a designated stockpile and fed into a crushing circuit. The crushed material is then moved onto a conveyor, which delivers the ore to a grinding circuit consisting of SAG and ball mills. The milled product is then thickened and leached into a CIP circuit.
Cyanide leaching and sorption
The cyanidation of the milled ore is carried out in the CIP or CIL circuit. During the CIP or CIL stage, pulp flows through several tanks where sodium cyanide and oxygen have been added to dissolve gold into solution. In the absorption stage, this solution flows through several tanks containing activated carbon. Gold then attaches onto the activated carbon, which flows counter current to the pulp, while screens separate the barren pulp from the gold-loaded carbon.
The final gold loaded carbon is removed and washed before undergoing elution. Elution is achieved by introducing the gold loaded carbon to a solution of sodium cyanide at a high temperature (>110°C) and under high pressure. This results in the reversal of the attachment process, with the gold detaching from the carbon back into solution. This produces a small volume of solution with a high gold concentration.
The gold loaded eluate solution that emerges from the elution process is passed through electrowinning cells, where gold is deposited onto the cells’ cathodes.
The cathodes then undergo a smelting process, further refining the gold and leading to the eventual production of gold ingots suitable for transport to a refinery.

2017 Deliveries

  • The Taparko mine is expected to deliver a waste cutback at the current 35 pit and mine an extension to the 2N2K pit in order to access new ore blocks.
  • The mine will continue to work on obtaining permits for the Goengo satellite deposit in order to start its development and mining in H2 2017.
  • The exploration work at and near the Taparko mine will include exploration drilling at Kangarse for additional ore positions and exploration drilling along strike at Goengo West.
  • Mapping and sampling will continue around Goengo and Kangarse to identify any additional targets for drill testing.


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