Construction has been completed on the infrastructure at the Golden Queen Mining Co. Ltd.’s Soledad Mountain gold and silver mine in the Antelope Valley, the company announced Tuesday.

The Vancouver, British Columbia company has started leaching rock taken from the ground to remove the precious metals and anticipates the first gold production in the upcoming weeks.

“It is an exciting time in the project as we move towards production,” Robert Walish Jr., chief operating officer, said in a prepared statement. “With the leaching initiated and the first gold pour expected to occur in the next few weeks, everyone on site is working hard to achieve this milestone.”

The Soledad site, just south of Mojave, operates as a typical open pit mine with workers removing ore from a pit using bulldozers that feed the rocks into a high-pressure grinding roll, a machine using two rollers rotating against each other to crush the material into small chunks.

A conveyor belt transports the crushed material to a leach pad where it is saturated with water containing cyanide that dissolves the gold and silver out of the rock. The gold and silver then flows from the leach pad by gravity to an adjacent plant that extracts the gold and silver into sludge. The sludge is then melted into a dore bar, a mixture of gold and silver.

Golden Queen is a publicly traded company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada and the OTC Market in the United States. The mine is the company’s only asset.

Shares closed down 7 cents, or more than 7 percent, to 86 cents in over-the- counter trading.