Ore was introduced to the milling and carbon-in-leach circuits on Saturday after construction wrapped up and the power station was commissioned.
The desorption and gold room circuits are being commissioned in anticipation of first gold in the next four weeks.
It keeps West African on schedule for its first gold pour early in the June quarter, which was recently brought forward from mid-year.
Over 360,000 tonnes of open pit oxide ore grading 1.5 grams per tonne gold is currently stockpiled on the run-of-mine pad.
West African executive chairman Richard Hyde said the first ore was a major milestone and was a testament to the company's contractors, which include Lycopodium, African Mining Services and Byrnecut Group.
Sanbrado is slated to produce over 300,000 ounces of gold at all-in sustaining costs of less than $500 an ounce in the first 12 months of operation.
Average annual production over the first five years is 217,000oz per annum at AISC of less than $600/oz.
Last month Hartleys lifted its price target for West African by A10c to 90c per share.
"Sanbrado is expected to be a high-margin gold operation, with a simple processing flowsheet (free-milling), strong production profile and long mine life (plus-10 years)," analyst Mike Millikan said.
"With the project fully-funded, key risks now appear to be largely commissioning and production ramp-up related."
Shares in West African reached a 52-week high of 64.5c two weeks ago, but dropped 4.8% to 59c this morning, valuing the company at just under $510 million.