Lydian International Ltd (TSX:LYD) has started earthworks in the construction of the Amulsar gold project in Armenia.
President and chief executive Howard Stevenson said: "Our team has accomplished a great deal.In less than three years, we have taken the Amulsar Gold Project through feasibility, permitting, financing, and now to the start of construction.
"Our funding is in place to proceed, and we expect to be pouring gold in about 18 months. Amulsar will be a large-scale, conventional operation. We expect it to deliver excellent cash flows and already see opportunities for growth."
Work is now under way on key roads, camp platforms and construction facilities. Top-soil removal (pre-stripping) in the Tigranes pit area is also progressing, the firm said.
Work on the mine-haul road from the mine pits to the crusher location has also started.
The start of earthworks follows several months of preparation, including relocating a major community irrigation pipeline and power line out of the footprint of the heap leach facility (HLF), repair to a community water channel, renovations to a local hotel for accommodations, commissary and local offices, and other upgrades to provide year-round construction utilities.
Tendering and beginning earthworks in the heap leach facility is one of the firm's next major priorities.
This will start with installation of primary HLF surface water sedimentation control structures and contractor laydown areas, followed by primary earthworks later in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Preparation of tender packages for pre-engineered metal buildings is also well advanced and will be released for tender also in the fourth quarter.
Negotiations with the prospective vendor for the initial mining fleet and certain auxiliary mobile equipment are nearing completion and orders will be placed before the end of 2016.
Amulsar will be Armenia's largest gold mine, with gold production targeted to average greater than 200,000 ounces annually over an initial 10 year mine life.