US-based Newmont Mining has poured the first gold from Merian mine in Suriname, South America.
Over the last month, the company achieved a sustained average mill throughput of 80%, as well as gold recovery of more than 90%.
Merian contains gold reserves of 5.1 million ounces and its production is expected to average between 400,000oz and 500,000oz per annum in the first five full years of production.
Newmont Mining president and CEO Gary Goldberg said: "We took an optimised approach to project development and benefitted from being one of the only gold producers investing in growth during the lower price cycle.
"Our team built Merian safely, on schedule and significantly below budget, and delivered our strategy to strengthen the portfolio by adding more than a decade of profitable production and creating a foothold in a prospective new gold district."
In November 2013, the Government of Suriname exercised its option to participate in a fully funded 25% equity ownership stake in the mine.
Operating under the banner of Newmont Suriname, Merian will be managed as part of Newmont’s South America region.
Merian is one of Newmont’s five self-funded growth projects, along with Long Canyon, Tanami and Carlin, and the recently completed Cripple Creek & Victor.
Together, these projects are expected to add approximately one million ounces of lower cost gold production over the next two years.
Surgold is fully owned by Newmont, and owns and operates the Merian Gold project.