* Says mill expansion may be delayed
* Produces about 26,256 ounces from Tabakoto/Segala projects
* Shares up about 20 pct
April 9 (Reuters) - Avion Gold Corp reported a 30 percent rise in first-quarter production at its Tabakoto and Segala projects in Mali, sending its shares up about 20 percent, but said its mill expansion may be delayed as the coup-hit West African country limps back to normal.
President Amadou Toumani Toure resigned on Sunday, paving the way for the soldiers who ousted him to restore civilian rule in the desert country that relies on gold for about 70 percent of export revenue and 15 percent of gross domestic product.
West Africa-focused Avion, which holds 80 percent of the Tabakoto and Segala gold projects, said it did not know how long the expansion would be delayed as the custom and import offices in Mali would take some time to become fully operational again.
However, the lifting of sanctions by neighboring West African countries will allow production and operations to continue as normal in Mali, the company said.
In the first quarter, Avion produced about 26,256 ounces from the Tabakoto and Segala projects, up from about 20,272 ounces produced in the same quarter last year.
It milled 225,700 tonnes of ore, up from 180,800 tonnes of ore milled in the year-ago period.
Avion Gold shares, which have lost nearly half their value in the last three months, were trading up about 15 percent at 99 Canadian cents on Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The stock was also one of the top percentage gainers on the exchange.