West African gold explorer and developer Tietto Minerals has started wet commissioning at the Abujar gold project in Côte d’Ivoire.

The firm started operations at the semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill and 4.5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) carbon-in-leach processor at the project, following 12 months of construction work.

Tietto expects the first gold pour at the 3.45Moz Abujar gold project within ten days.

Located 30km from the city of Daloa in central western Côte D’Ivoire, the project includes three contiguous exploration tenements that cover a total area of 1,114km².

Once the processing plant and tailings storage facility (TSF) are fully operational, the gold project is anticipated to produce 260,00oz of gold in its first year.

In the initial six years, the Abujar project is expected to produce 1.2Moz of gold.

Tietto Minerals managing director Caigen Wang said: “To build a gold mine the size of Abujar in less than 12 months is a monumental achievement.

“To do it during Covid with supply chain issues, escalated pricing and skilled people shortage made it, almost, mission impossible. Our in‐house construction team has demonstrated it can be delivered through careful planning, diligent management and hard work.”

Tietto plans to undertake up to 120,000m of diamond drilling activities in CY23 at the Abujar project, using its fleet of eight rigs.

In a press statement, Tietto said: “Upon Tietto achieving first gold at the Abujar Gold Project, Abujar will become West Africa’s newest producing gold mine.”