Ghana – Dual-listed gold developer Asanko Gold Inc. successfully started commissioning Phase 1 of the Asanko gold mine towards the end of December with first gold still on track for January 2016.

Phase 1 is a low cost, long life mine that will produce an average of 190 000 oz of gold per annum at steady state over 12 years.

The crusher was commissioned on waste on December 10, 2015 and ore is now being fed from the run of mine (ROM) ore stockpile in preparation for the commencement of milling operations. Water commissioning of the pre-leach thickener and carbon-in-leach (CIL) circuits has begun.

The installation of the mill motors and lining of the Ball and SAG mills has been completed and their commissioning with ore took place in the last week of December 2015, one month ahead of schedule.

Mining operations are performing according to plan and there is now approximately 290 000 t (+30 days steady state production) of ore on the stockpile. The majority of this ore was mined from resources that were classified as Inferred Mineral Resources encountered during the pre-strip and as such were not part of the Definitive Project Plan (DPP).

Over 90 000 t of this ore has been stockpiled separately with an average grade of 2.16 g/t gold. The main Nkran Mineral Reserves are now being opened up as the pre-strip nears completion and approximately 1.2 Mt of ore have been further delineated by Reverse Circulation (RC) grade control drilling.

The grade control model is comparing well to the Mineral Resource Estimate. Grade reconciliation will start following the commencement of processing ore in Q1 2016.

Peter Breese, President and CEO, comments: “Commissioning of Phase 1 has now commenced and we expect to start the mill and CIL circuits shortly. We anticipate first gold from the entire processing circuit in January 2016. Mill feed rates and gold recoveries are expected to ramp-up to steady-state levels over the first three months of operations with commercial production targeted during Q2 2016.”

“Mining operations are running smoothly and we are starting to mine the main Nkran orebody as the 21.7 Mt pre-strip nears completion. To date we have mined 19 Mt of material out of the pit. The RC grade control drilling program is confirming the resource model and we now have almost five months of grade-controlled ore delineated and ready for mining. Over the next few months, we aim to increase these detailed reserves to between 9 – 12 months ahead of the production schedule.”

“We continue to track within our capital budget of US$295 million and have strengthened the balance sheet heading into commissioning against a backdrop of uncertainty for the gold price. We remain confident of our ability to reach commercial production and generate positive cash flows by Q2, 2016.”

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