Australian gold miner Perseus Mining has poured first gold at its Yaouré gold mine in Cote d’Ivoire.

The company said that the milestone was achieved nearly five weeks ahead of schedule, and added that the gold pour is in line with its ‘stretch target’ of first gold at the mine in December.

Yaouré is situated near the Ivorian capital of Yamoussoukro adjacent to the Koussou hydro-electric power station. It is located in central Côte d’Ivoire.

As the processing plant and associated infrastructure of the mine is almost complete, Perseus will now focus on performance tests and positioning to achieve commercial production.

The Australian firm expects to achieve both during the March quarter of next year, when the first gold shipment from the Yaouré mine site is also expected to take place.

Perseus CEO and managing director Jeff Quartermaine said: “Being able to successfully develop the Yaouré Gold Mine, ahead of schedule and under budget during a year in which the Covid-19 pandemic has severely disrupted many businesses around the world, is a testament to the skill, resilience and dedication of our in-house development team, technical and commercial support staff, our contractors and consultants.

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“We are now looking forward to achieving our next target of increasing our production to more than 500,000 ounces of gold per year at a cash margin of not less than US$400 per ounce in FY2022.

“We will also extend our capacity to consistently produce gold at these levels for many years to come by organically increasing our Ore Reserve inventory through successful near-mine exploration programmes across our three mines.”

In May last year, Perseus Mining secured approval from its board of directors for the development of the Yaouré gold mine with capital costs of $265m.