Saracen Mineral Holdings has started gold mining activity at its Western Australia-based Carosue Dam gold project with wet commissioning currently underway.

The company said it hopes to become a mid-tier producer of gold as a result of its Carosue production.

Phase one of the project in the South Laverton region will involve five open cut mines, beginning with a Porphyry mine that earlier yielded 144,000oz of gold.

Mining work at the Porphyry open pit mine, as well as ore haulage, has started and gold output will be based on existing surface stockpiles as well as Porphyry mine ore.

The Porphyry, Whirling Dervish, Enterprise, Deep South and Wallbrook proposed mines will be mined over a three- to five-year period.

In coming weeks, first gold is anticipated with a ramp-up of production during the commissioning phase through to April 2010 to an annual rate of 100,000 to 120,000oz.