Guyana Goldfields poured the first gold at its new Aurora gold mine in northern Guyana during the course of mill commissioning in early August. The initial startup gold was captured on August 4 by processing the lowest-grade ore available.

The company is progressing toward full saprolite circuit operation and is gradually feeding higher-grade material to the mill. Commissioning and startup of the hard-rock crushing circuit is scheduled for completion later in the third quarter of 2015. Mill throughput at design capacity will be 5,000 mt/d.

Guyana Goldfields expects the Aurora project to produce between 30,000 and 50,000 oz of gold in 2015, depending on how quickly full ramp up is achieved, and between 120,000 and 140,000 oz in 2016. The company plans to issue an updated NI 43-101 technical report in the first quarter of 2016 that will reflect an extended open-pit mining scenario, while deferring underground production until later in the mine life.

The Aurora project is designed to produce 3.29 million oz of gold, averaging 194,000 oz/y over an initial 17-year mine life. The project has 3.48 million oz of gold in proven and probable reserves, with 2.38 million mt grading 3.04 g/mt in proven reserves and 37.22 million mt grading 2.72 g/mt in probable reserves. The project’s total gold resources stand at 6.54 million oz measured and indicated and 1.82 million oz inferred.

Guyana Goldfields expects capital investment to develop the Aurora project to come in at under $277 million. Life-of-mine cash operating costs are estimated at $473/oz, including a royalty. All-in costs are estimated at $749/oz.

Guyana Goldfields is a Canadian company headquartered in Toronto and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Company President and CEO Scott A. Caldwell said, “Our first gold pour is an extraordinary achievement in Guyana Goldfields transition from an exploration and development company to a high-grade, low-cost gold producer. We would like to celebrate this significant accomplishment for all that have contributed from the project’s inception and thank our shareholders and stakeholders in supporting the development of the project.”