Firefinch Ltd (ASX:FFX) has notched up a substantial increase in gold production from its flagship Morila Gold Mine in Mali across the past month and the June quarter.

The ASX-listed miner produced 5,019 ounces at the West African plant last month — a 21% increase on the last production record.

Meanwhile, over the June quarter, ‘Morila the Gorilla’ poured 12,555 gold ounces, meaning it also set a new quarterly production record.

The Mali-focused materials stock estimated it would produce between 11,000 and 13,000 gold ounces over FY21’s final quarter, meaning the realised production total lies at the upper end of previous guidance.

Firefinch expects to perform even better in the current quarter, with the production bar set between 13,000 and 15,000 gold ounces.

MD “expects positive trend to continue”

Speaking to the production uptake, Firefinch managing director Michael Anderson said: “These latest production figures clearly demonstrate the benefits of recommencing mining and processing of the satellite ores.

“We expect the positive trend in production to continue as we access Viper and enjoy a full quarter of operating the successfully recommissioned processing circuit.

“The team on site deserve tremendous credit and it was clear from our recent visit to site that everyone is committed to delivering on Morila’s obvious potential.”

What’s behind the production boost?

Firefinch said a mining restart across Morila’s satellite pits was partially behind the fresh production records.

Over at Morila Pit 5, the company began processing run of mine ore in early May, supplementing the last few months of material from tailings retreatment.

There’s also an increasing proportion of higher-grade satellite ore being fed to Morila’s gold plant, which Firefinch claims has led to a strong improvement in recoveries: up from approximately 50% on tailings only to 75% on ore and tailings combined.

A further step change is expected once the company kickstarts mining at Morila’s Viper Deposit in the coming weeks.

Firefinch was able to process satellite pit material after it refurbished and recommissioned Morila’s comminution circuit back in mid-May.

Since recommissioning, the circuit has averaged annualised throughput rates of approximately three million tonnes per annum

Even still, Firefinch predicts significantly higher throughput rates — up to the equivalent of 4.5 million tonnes per annum — have been achieved on an instantaneous basis.

Taking into account a forecast increase in run of mine satellite ore feed, a full quarter of processing through the refurbished circuit and the improved recoveries, the gold miner hopes to churn out between 13,000 and 15,000 gold ounces over the September quarter.