Asanko Gold has commenced its first gold production of about 400oz from phase one of its mine in Ghana.

The first gold production from the Asanko gold mine follows the commencement of operations of the entire processing facility one month ahead of schedule.

Asanko Gold president and CEO Peter Breese said: "I am proud to announce that the Asanko Gold Mine is officially the newest producing gold mine in Ghana, with phase one successfully built within our capital budget and commissioned one month ahead of schedule.

"As we complete commissioning and ramp up to steady-state production rates, I am pleased to note the early gains that we have already achieved."

"As we complete commissioning and ramp up to steady-state production rates, I am pleased to note the early gains that we have already achieved with respect to throughput rates and mill grind, which have exceeded our expectations.

The company hopes to start commercial production during the second quarter of 2016.

Construction for phase 1, which involved costs amounting to $295m, started in August 2014.

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The company said it has been commissioning the processing facility with low-grade stockpiles after the crusher was handed over by DRA Global in December 2015.

During the last week in December, ore was stockpiled and introduced into the SAG and Ball mills, which are matching or exceeding designed throughputs of 8,300t per day.

Phase one will mine the Obotan Project, which comprises the Nkran pit, and four satellite deposits, Abore, Asuadai, Dynamite Hill and Adubiaso.

Full drill and blast operations at the Nkran pit are continuing at long-term steady state levels and more than 22 million tonnes of material has been removed from the pit till now.

Asanko Gold appointed PW Ghana as the open pit mining contractor for the pre-stripping and year one of operations. Knight Piesold designed the tailings storage facility.