A Canadian company has opened a large-scale gold mine in a remote section of Guyana.

Toronto-based Guyana Goldfields Inc. plans to produce more than 3 million ounces of gold over the next 17 years at its $250 million site near the South American country's border with Venezuela.

Production started Wednesday, a day after an opening ceremony with dignitaries including President David Granger. The mine is expected to employ some 500 workers.

Officials say it's the biggest gold mine in Guyana since Omai Gold Mines Ltd. ceased operations in 2005. That mine was shuttered after waste overflowed into a nearby dam and caused an environmental disaster.

Gold is Guyana's main export and generated nearly $1 billion in revenue in 2013. But earnings have since dropped because of weaker gold prices.