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Golden Queen Mining has started commissioning of the Merrill-Crowe facility at its 50%-owned Soledad Mountain gold-silver project south of Mojave, California, US.

Construction activities at the project are also proceeding on schedule and the first gold production is expected in February.

Golden Queen also fed the first ore through the crushing circuit. Construction of the project is 95% complete.

The company commissioned the crushing-screening plant at the project in November 2015, which continued through early December.

"Construction of the project is 95% complete."

Last month, commissioning of the conveying-stacking system began and full power was also provided to the project in addition to initiating pad loading of agglomerated ore.

Leaching at Soledad Mountain is expected to begin in mid-January 2016.

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By GlobalData

Golden Queen Mining chairman and interim CEO Thomas Clay said: "We have almost completed construction, and I am proud of the progress that our team has made over the past 24 months.

"The first gold pour is expected to occur in February and will signify a new chapter in Golden Queen’s long history as we transition from development to production."

The company said that the mining operation has stockpiled sufficient ore to support first gold production.

Mechanical work at the processing facility is 98% complete and has allowed commissioning activities to proceed.

The project secured approval from the Kern County Planning Commission in April 2010 and construction of the mine started in July 2013. Final construction engineering designs were completed in 2014.