Red River Resources shares surged ~10 per cent this morning as the miner announced it had achieved production at its Hillgrove gold operation in New South Wales.

First ore was processed by Red River Resources (ASX:RVR) through the Hillgrove mill yesterday, with the plant ramping up to steady-state production and the workforce onsite increased to more than 50 people.

Trucking and mining of the Bakers Creek stockpile kicked off prior to Christmas, and first ore was delivered to the run-of-mine pad on December 23.

Today’s announcement from Red River meant the company met its target of bringing Hillgrove into production during  2020  – albeit in the last few days of the year – a welcome reward for shareholders as they enter 2021.

A project with a history spanning back to 1857, since 1969 Hillgrove has produced more than 730,000 ounces of gold in bullion and concentrates, more than 50,000 tonnes of antimony metal and concentrates, and material amounts of by-product tungsten in concentrates.

The project has a mineral resource of 5 million tonnes measuring 4.3 grams per tonne gold, and 1.5 per cent antimony for 692,000 ounces and 75,000 tonnes respectively.

The project has a 250,000 tonne-per-annum processing plant onsite, as well as a modern tailing storage facility built in 2006 with around 2 years’ worth of production storage capacity.

The project was placed on care and maintenance by Bracken Resources in 2016 as a result of low prevailing antimony prices.

It has been the beneficiary of $180 million worth of investment since 2004 by its various owners. The project was acquired by Red River from a private seller in August last year.