Canadian mining company Equinox Gold has announced the completion of phase one construction at its Castle Mountain gold mine in California.

Currently, irrigation of the leach pad is underway and the company expects first gold pour in the fourth quarter.

The Castle Mountain gold mine is an open-pit mine being developed in San Bernardino County, California, US.

Equinox Gold has completed the pre-feasibility study (PFS) for the two-phased low-cost mining project in July 2018.

The Canadian firm started pre-production mining in early June and has so far stacked over 1.4 million tonnes (Mt) of ore on the leach pad.

According to the company, loaded carbon from Castle Mountain will be processed in the carbon stripping and smelting plant at the company’s Mesquite mine in California.

Equinox Gold CEO Christian Milau said: “Castle Mountain will be Equinox Gold’s seventh producing gold mine in the Americas and our second operating mine in California.

“We expect Castle Mountain to be a long-life flagship asset for Equinox Gold, bringing significant benefits to our workforce, shareholders, local communities and San Bernardino County.”

Meanwhile, feasibility study for the second phase is slated for completion in the fourth quarter this year. The phase two is expected to produce an annual average of 200,000 ounces (oz) of gold.

In March, Equinox Gold and Leagold Mining announced the completion of their merger creating a gold producing firm operating entirely in the Americas.

In July 2018, Equinox Gold signed an agreement to sell its stake in the Koricancha ore processing facility in Peru to Inca One Gold.