Asanko Gold Inc.said April 6 that it has begun commercial production at its Asanko gold mine in Ghana, one quarter ahead ofschedule.
Gold production will continue to ramp up in the second quarteras mining in the main ore body of the Nkran pit begins, with steady-state operationsexpected by the end of the second quarter.
A total of 15,337 ounces of gold and 2,860 ounces of silver hasbeen produced and shipped by March 31. Of these, 8,710 ounces have been sold atan average price of US$1,211 per ounce for sales of US$10.6 million. Another 6,200ounces of gold have been locked up in the processing circuit.
In March, the mine processed 276,146 tonnes or approximately8,908 tonnes per day, which is 111% of design capacity. Phase-one construction iscomplete, with gold recoveries exceeding expectations at 94% in the last two weeksof March. Approximately 45% of gold is recovered by gravity.
Asanko is aiming to increase mill throughput up to 12,000 tonnesper day.
At Nkran, the company plans to spend the first half of the yearpreparing the pit for long-life operations, while the second half will be used toimplement the Definitive Project Plan run rates. Asanko plans to continue bulk miningduring the stripping exercise, and anticipates lower head grades being mined. Thiswill continue until the main ore body is fully exposed in the second quarter.
In February, Asanko signed a five-year power purchase agreementwith the Volta River Authority to deliver power along a 30-kilometer, 161-kilovoltpower line connecting the mine site to the Asawinso substation.
Asanko expects to produce 35,000 ounces to 40,000 ounces in thesecond quarter, and 90,000 ounces to 100,000 ounces in the second half of 2016.