West African gold producer Aureus Mining has started gold sales and initial mining and processing operations from the New Liberty Gold Mine in Liberia.
Aureus Mining president and chief executive officer David Reading said: "The first commercial exporting and sales of gold from Liberia is yet another important milestone in the overall evolution of New Liberty and marks the beginning of revenue generation for the company.
"The progress being made is very encouraging with early operations confirming the high grades at New Liberty and good recoveries, despite the typical teething problems associated with commissioning a new gold mine."
Commercial production levels at the mine are expected during the fourth quarter of 2015.
According to the company, plant commissioning is progressing with 52,310t of ore processed at an average feed grade of 3.6g/t, and optimisation work is on schedule to meet the target of 93%.
Initially, the issues with availability of explosives hampered mining operations, which have now been addressed by the company.
From April to July, mining operations were hampered due to a lack of regular and consistent supply of explosives that was caused by a delay in the delivery of the emulsion plant from China.
Aureus plans to deploy additional mining equipment at the site.
To date, the New Liberty Process Plant has processed 52,310t of run of mine (ROM) ore at an average feed grade of 3.6g/t at an average gold recovery of 89%.
Image: New Liberty process plant site. Photo: courtesy of Aureus Mining Inc.