For miners, one of the most significant milestones is achieving commercial production, a fruit of labors once described by Rudolf Elias, CEO of Suriname’s state-owned oil company Staatsolie, as “like a father seeing his child graduate from college.”

RNC Minerals’ (TSX:RNX)(OTCQX:RNKLF) CEO Mark Selby can appreciate that feeling, with his company’s Beta Hunt Mine in Western Australia meeting that milestone, as announced on Tuesday morning.

Production at the gold and nickel mine has reached 3,500 contained ounces of gold over a 30-day period, an equivalent of 42,000 ounces of gold production over one year. Performance has improved significantly during the second quarter, with the average gold mining rate climbing 40% from Q1 to about 1,600 tonnes per day.

Gold grades also rose substantially quarter-over-quarter, up 35% in Q2 to 2.3 grams per tonne.

Selby says that production ramp-up is on track and the improved development rates will facilitate bringing additional mining areas into production, leading to what should be a “robust” second half of 2017.

Shares of RNX have languished over the last year, sliding from a high of 63 cents in May 2016 to as low as 17 cents almost exactly one year to the day later. Traders are giving the stock a little love since hitting the low, including a May high of 24 cents and a new higher low made at Monday’s close of 18 cents.

One hour into Tuesday’s session, shares are up 11.1% at 20 cents, printing as high as 20.5 cents in early action.

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