March 26, 2020 – Vancouver, BC - Orezone Gold Corporation (TSX.V: ORE) announces today that the Company has taken additional precautionary measures in response to the global COVID-19 outbreak. There have been no reported cases of COVID-19 amongst the Company’s employees or contractors in Burkina Faso or Canada. However, based on ongoing discussions with our staff, host communities, contractors and suppliers and in conjunction with Burkina Faso government travel and work restrictions, Orezone has decided to temporarily suspend all non-essential activities at its Bomboré Gold Project.
The main activity at Bomboré is Phase I of the Resettlement Action Plan (“RAP”) involving the construction of several resettlement villages consisting of over 1,100 family dwellings and associated community infrastructure and the relocation of over 300 families. Construction is currently 95% complete. These activities are being conducted alongside existing local villages involving a significant workforce which increases the risk of community spread of COVID-19. Therefore, Orezone in consultation with the local communities, regional representatives and contractors, has decided to defer all ongoing RAP construction and de-mobilize all contractors. The Company is implementing a plan to safely secure equipment and material, and to prevent unauthorized access to these resettlement villages during this suspension period. Occupancy at camp will also be reduced to essential levels.
The completion of the RAP will affect the overall planned project development schedule. Therefore, the Company is withdrawing its guidance of anticipated first gold in 2021 as the duration of the work suspension is currently unknown. The Company is implementing plans for a rapid restart of project activities once Orezone and relevant stakeholders agree that the final completion of village construction and subsequent relocation can be completed safely.
Orezone remains well funded and will continue to manage its treasury responsibly during this period of reduced activity.
Patrick Downey, President & CEO stated, “Although we are disappointed to temporarily halt RAP construction at this late stage, the health and safety of our employees and local communities is paramount. We will continue to provide updates as the ramifications of COVID-19 become better understood, and the safest and most responsible path forward is clear”.
Orezone Gold Corporation
Orezone Gold Corporation (TSX.V: ORE) is a Canadian development company which owns a 90% interest in Bomboré, one of the largest undeveloped gold deposits in Burkina Faso. Bomboré hosts a large oxide resource underlain by a larger, open sulphide resource, and will be developed in two stages.
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For further information please contact Orezone at +1 (778) 945-8977 or visit the Company’s website at www.orezone.com.
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Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains certain information that may constitute “forward-looking information” under applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking information in this press release relates to statements with respect to the RAP, COVID-19, anticipated first gold and such statements about strategic plans, including future operations, future work programs, capital expenditures, and corporate and technical objectives. Forward-looking information is necessarily based upon a number of assumptions that, while considered reasonable, are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results and future events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including the risks inherent to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the mining industry, adverse economic and market developments and the risks identified in Orezone’s annual information form under the heading “Risk Factors”. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. All forward-looking information contained in this press release is given as of the date hereof and is based upon the opinions and estimates of management and information available to management as at the date hereof. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.