Firefinch (formerly Mali Lithium) has achieved the first gold pour at the Morila gold mine in south-west Mali under its ownership.

The company closed the acquisition of 80% stake in the gold mine in November this year from AngloGold Ashanti and Barrick Gold. The remaining 20% stake in the Morila mine is held by the Mali government.

Firefinch said that the gold pour has now made the company an income-generating gold producer.

Firefinch executive chairman Alistair Cowden said: “We have been delighted at the smooth transition from Barrick management to Firefinch management at Morila and are especially pleased to be generating cash flow.

“The cashflow is being applied to the drilling of tailings and satellite pits, plant refurbishment, mine plan studies and other technical work to prepare Morila for a return to open-pit mining. We are also pleased that recent labour unrest in Mali’s mining industry did not impact Morila.”

Located in the Sikasso Region, the open-pit gold mine began production in October 2000. The previous production of more than 7.4 million ounces of gold from the mine was from Anglogold, Randgold Resources, and Barrick Gold.

Firefinch said that the Morila gold mine is producing above forecast in its first month of operation under its ownership.

The company said that tailings retreatment, mining and processing is operating as planned and that it is achieving grade as per forecasts.

According to Firefinch, production for the current month at the Morila mine is anticipated to be in the range of 4,000-4,100 ounces of gold at an approximate all-in-cost of $1,000 to $1,100 per ounce of gold.

Firefinch revealed plans to ramp up production through open-pit mining from the Morila deposit, its satellite pits, and the Koting discovery on the adjacent Massigui project.