Shanta Gold has announced that its New Luika Gold mine in Tanzania has secured all necessary approvals for its underground project.
The company has also started the mine decline development.
The underground project is completely resourced in terms of employees, as well as equipment and current production, operating and capital costs remain on target.
Shanta Gold CEO Toby Bradbury said: "The start of the underground development is a major milestone for New Luika as it provides ongoing long-term access to high-grade resources in the Bauhinia Creek and Luika deposits for at least the next five years.
"We are particularly grateful for the constructive and timely assistance of the Tanzanian authorities in the processing of the company's permits."
The mine commenced production in 2012 and produced 81,873oz last year.
The underground project was commissioned in August 2012 with new elution and electrowinning plant installed in the second quarter of 2014. A new crusher plant was also commissioned in September 2014.
Luika Gold comprises various small to medium-sized high-grade deposits in a close area. The two key gold deposits anchoring the mine are Bauhinia Creek and Luika.
Centered in the north-west area of the Lupa Goldfield, the mine also acts as a potential regional processing hub with potential from the adjoining 1,300km² of licences from 100%-owned Shield Resources.