ENOR will issue a tender for the estimated $25 million-27 million plant once a bankable feasibility study is complete, with construction of the plant expected to begin by early 2005.

Australia’s Drillcorp Internationalhas conducted a reverse circulation programme – as outlined by Algiers – designed to confirm total potential gold resources at the Amesmessa and Tirek deposits of 3.8 million ounces graded at 17.2 grams per tonne. ‘Not all the gold will be extractable,’ GMA chief executive Colin Ikin told MEED in early July. ‘But we have only drilled to a depth of 225-250 metres, and we could go much deeper. We expect to extract about 150,000 ounces of gold a year, with a margin of about $250 an ounce.’

ENOR obtained the 20-year renewable mineral exploitation permit for Amesmessa and Tirek in 1992. GMA purchased a 52 per cent majority stake 10 years later following the introduction of a mining law, which rescinded the 49 per cent limit on the level of foreign participation.

GMA has submitted a request to purchase the remaining 48 per cent stake in ENOR and is a waiting approval from minority equity shareholders.