Great Panther Silver (TSE:GPR)(AMEX:GPL) Monday reported first-quarter production from its two wholly-owned Mexican silver mining operations, Guanajuato and Topia.
The company said that metal production continued to improve and at
557,667 silver equivalent ounces, was up two percent over the fourth
quarter of 2011.
Silver production totaled 359,526 ounces and silver metal recovery at
the Guanajuato plant reached an all-time high of 90.1 percent.
As well, a quarterly record of gold production was achieved with
2,729 ounces ounces produced, up 20 percent on the prior quarter.
Great Panther said that during the first quarter, ore grades improved
at Guanajuato to 213 grams per tonne (g/t) silver and 2.30 g/t gold -
351 g/t silver equivalent - up by 11 percent from the fourth quarter of
2011 and up 21 percent compared to the average for 2011 (199 g/t silver
and 1.52 g/t gold).
Mining of the high grade Deep Cata and the gold-rich Santa Margarita
ore bodies has already demonstrated the potential to maintain and build
on this improvement, the company said, with further expansions of
production from these areas planned in 2012.
New developments on the gold-rich Santa Margarita vein at Guanajuato
yielded over 2,000 tonnes grading 8.8 g/t gold at the 455 metre level
during the quarter, and 2,000 tonnes grading 5.2 g/t gold from the 470
The silver and gold producer also saw record mining and plant
throughput at Topia of 12,404 tonnes, up three percent, and said it has
secured concentrate sales contracts for planned 2012 production.
Ore processed at Great Panther's two operations, at 51,198 tonnes,
was down by two percent from the fourth quarter of 2011. However, due to
improved ore grades at Guanajuato, and improved metallurgical
recoveries at both operations, metal production improved by two percent
from the fourth quarter, but was down by eight percent compared to a
Individual metals produced in the first quarter included 359,526
ounces of silver, 2,729 ounces of gold, 446,700 pounds lead and 686,700
The company said Topia ore grades remained low through February, but
were well above the average for 2011 in March. The positive trend is
expected to continue through 2012 with new, additional developments on
higher grade veins, Great Panther added.
During the first quarter of 2012, the company drilled a total of
15,155 metres from surface and underground at the Guanajuato and Topia
mine operations, as well as the two exploration projects of San Ignacio
and Santa Rosa.
Great Panther stood by its guidance for metal production growth of
approximately 20 percent year-on-year from its two wholly owned Mexican
silver operations. The company estimates metal production in the range
of 2.50 to 2.75 million silver equivalent ounces for 2012.
At Topia, Great Panther said that the extreme dry season has caused
plant capacity to be limited to 160 tonnes from 220 tonnes per day, a
reduction of almost 30 percent. Custom milling throughput has been
reduced and ore will be stockpiled for processing later in the year,
such that there is currently little or no plant capacity shortfall
anticipated for 2012.
Improvement modifications, including additional flotation cells, have
been completed to facilitate improved metallurgical performance. The
capacity of the processing plant is being further increased as of the
third quarter to 300 tonnes per day, sufficient to process the
stockpiled ore to year end, the company said.
Great Panther also said that the San Ignacio project is expected to
realize its potential during 2012 with an intensive exploration and mine
development program being planned. It is expected to add to the
production growth potential for 2013.
The permitting process for a new ramp is well underway.
An NI 43-101 compliant initial mineral resource estimate of 4.5
million silver equivalent ounces was released for San Ignacio after
drilling 24 diamond core holes covering a strike length of 350 metres.
The explored strike length has doubled to date and a resource update is
expected in the second quarter.
The San Ignacio project covers around four kilometres of strike
length on the La Luz vein system, which is parallel to, and five
kilometres west of, the principal Veta Madre structure that hosts the
company's Guanajuato Mine Complex.
In terms of contained metals, the company's estimated ranges for 2012
are between 1.72 to 1.90 million ounces silver, up from 1.495 million
ounces in 2011; 10,000 to 11,000 ounces of gold, up from 8,015 ounces in
2011; 2.50 to 2.80 million pounds of lead, up from 2.07 million pounds
in 2011, and 3.30 to 3.60 million pounds of zinc, up from 2.90 million
pounds in 2011.
Full details of the company's first quarter production results can be found at http://www.greatpanther.com