First gold has been poured at Toro Gold’s Mako mine in Eastern Senegal. The Mako mine is owned and operated by Petowal Mining Co, and a pour of 1,325 oz was completed on January 26, which is approximately two weeks ahead of the planned date in the construction schedule. The company is now focussed on implementing the continued ramp up of operations to achieve steady state commercial production through the first half of 2018.Martin Horgan, Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We are delighted to be able to announce this significant milestone for the company both ahead of schedule and under budget. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this milestone, including our dedicated team of staff, contractors, stakeholders, our partners in the Government of Senegal, and our financiers.“It is a testament to the professionalism and dedication of the team that the same group who founded the company in 2009, has overseen the entire development process from a greenfields discovery at Mako in late 2011 to first gold in six years. We are proud of our track record of consistently meeting or exceeding our development targets over this period against a backdrop of challenging market conditions.“Russell White, Project Manager, supported by his construction group has achieved a remarkable result in not only delivering the Mako project ahead of schedule and under budget, but also doing so in a safe manner with project safety statistics significantly bettering the national Australian standards over the 3.6 million man hours worked at the site.“We are now focussed on ramping up to steady state and commercial production over the coming months. We head into 2018 with Adrian de Freitas as General Manager of the Mako mine, leading our next phase of development as an operating company.”Initial production was slated for February 8 with a total capital construction budget of $158 million, including contingency and working capital. The construction team has been able to beat this construction schedule with first gold occurring some two weeks early and at this time forecast cost to complete estimates indicate that the final capital cost will be below the target. A final capital construction cost reconciliation will be completed later in Q1 2018.Mako achieved Practical Completion on January 3 with project facilities signed off and ‘punch listed’ enabling the commencement of processing operations at that time.Mining operator AMS Senegal has been active at the mine since mid 2017 and currently the ROM Pad contains 265,000 t of material at an average grade of 2.22 g/t Au, which is sufficient for in excess of 50 days production at design throughput rates.At this time the IPP Power Station is fully operational, the fuel farm has been completed and is fully commissioned and the raw water dam is at capacity. The tailings management facility has started to receive its first material and the cyanide destruct system has been confirmed to be operating at the required level to better international discharge guidelines.