Canada’s Asante Gold (TSX-V: ASE) (GSE: ASG) has poured first gold at its Bibiani gold mine in Ghana, which is expected to produce 175,000 ounces of the precious metal over the next 12 months.
The news follows the commissioning of the processing plant and associated equipment at the mine in early June.
The Vancouver-based company said this was the final operating area of the process plant to be commissioned, adding that scale up of production is continuing as planned, including collection of gold on carbon.
Bibiani, which Asante acquired last year from Australia’s Resolute Mining (ASX, LON: RSG), will be a 24 hour a day operation.
Production will ramp up to 220,000 ounces of gold annually in the second year of operations and 200,000-255,000 ounces a year for years three to eight.
Bibiani is a historically significant gold mine situated in the Western North region of Ghana, which produced more than 4 million ounces of gold before being put halted by its previous owners. It came out of care and maintenance in September 2021, shortly after Asante acquired it.
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The start of operations of Bibiani mine comes at a time when Ghana is facing a decline in gold production.
Last year, the country’s total production of the precious metal fell 29.9% to slightly over 2.8 million ounces from the previous year, reaching its lowest level since 2008, Joshua Mortoti, President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines said on Thursday.
The drop means that Ghana is no longer the top gold producer in Africa, but the second, after South Africa.
Asante Gold has strong ties to Ghana, with Ghanaian citizens holding a significant shareholding, as well as board and executive roles.