ASX-listed gold producer Bellevue Gold has achieved the first gold pour at its Bellevue gold project in the Goldfields region of Western Australia.

Mine production had begun on time, with a 115,000t stockpile of underground ore ready for processing as part of the plant’s commissioning phase.

The company has also made available another 85,000t of open pit material to be processed.

The first smelt produced a gold bar weighing 8.3kg. This processing included a crushing circuit operating at 250 tonnes per hour (tph) during the six days of start-up.

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By GlobalData

The ball mill at the plant also achieved throughput of 125tph, equating to one million tonnes per annum (mtpa), during the start-up period.

Ramp-up and optimisation are also taking place across crushing, processing and plant services areas.

The project has now reached the commissioning phase as the plant throughput is forecast to increase the processing capacity to 1mtpa.

Bellevue Gold managing director Darren Stralow said: “The start of production is the culmination of an incredible journey, which started with an exploration project.

“To achieve this on time and on budget is a huge feat, particularly given the skills shortage and economic climate of recent times.

“This is a major credit to our construction and operations teams who alongside our key contractors have worked tirelessly to deliver this project.”

The Bellevue gold project is located in a major gold and nickel-producing district with mines such as Northern Star’s Jundee, Goldfields’ Agnew and Lawlers, and Red 5’s Darlot, among others.

The project has a current mineral resource of 9.8 million tonnes (mt) at 9.9 grams per tonne (g/t) of gold for 3.1 million ounces (moz), including a probable ore reserve of 6.8mt at 6.1g/t of gold for 1.34moz.

The processing facility is a conventional carbon-in-leach and gravity plant. Ore for processing will be produced from underground extraction with five separate work areas, namely Tribune, Deacon, Viago, Marceline and Armand.