Thursday, 19 April 2012

SilverCrest Mines more than triples Q1 silver equivalent production at Santa Elena

SilverCrest Mines (CVE:SVL)(OTCQX:STVZF) announced Thursday that silver production in the first quarter from its Santa Elena Mine in Sonora, Mexico more than doubled while gold production almost tripled year-over-year.
For the first quarter, silver production jumped 108 percent to 134,528 ounces, from 64,712 ounces a year ago, when the mine, which is now in commercial production, was still in the commissioning phase.
Gold production rose 198 percent to 9,405 ounces from 3,152 ounces in the year-earlier period.
As a result, silver equivalent ounces produced from the mine more than tripled to 616,682 ounces. Silver equivalent ounces sold soared 339 percent to 641,532 ounces from 146,219 in the first quarter one year ago.
Ore tonnes crushed increased 27 percent to 264,977, as the average of ore tonnes crushed per day rose 26 percent to 2,912 - well above plan, the company said.
Silver ounces delivered to pad were up 48 percent, with average silver ore grades loaded on pad up 22 percent to 41.67 grams per tonne (g/t), while gold ounces to pad were up 67 percent with average gold ore grades loaded on pad up 38 percent to 1.57 g/t.
"Operations at the Santa Elena mine enjoyed a robust start to 2012 with silver and gold production in line with our 2012 guidance," said president J. Scott Drever.
"This is the second quarter that we have run at full, planned production rates while the comparative Q1 2011, was still in the commissioning phase.
"The crusher throughput averaged approximately 2,900 tonnes per day for Q1 2012, compared to a plan of 2,500 tonnes per day and the open pit tonnes and grades tracked closely with our model grades.
"Cash cost is anticipated to be consistent with our guidance of approximately $8 per silver equivalent ounce. As a result of this stellar quarter, the company is on target to achieve its 2012 production guidance of 435,000 ounces of silver and 33,000 ounces of gold."
SilverCrest Mines is a Mexican precious metals producer with headquarters in Vancouver, BC.
Its flagship property is the 100 percent-owned Santa Elena Mine, which is located 150 kilometres northeast of Hermosillo, near Banamichi in the State of Sonora, México.
The mine is a high-grade, epithermal gold and silver producer, with an estimated life of mine cash cost of US$8 per ounce of silver equivalent.
SilverCrest anticipates that the mine should recover around 4,805,000 ounces of silver and 179,000 ounces of gold over the 6.5 year life of the open pit phase.
For the fourth quarter that ended December 31, the company swung to a profit of $10.38 million, or 12 cents per share, versus a comprehensive loss of $5.94 million, or a loss of 10 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Reported revenues for quarter were $18.26 million. During Santa Elena's first year of production, the company said the mine, which entered commercial production in July 2011, produced 377,071 ounces of silver and 26,969 ounces of gold - or 1,737,418 ounces of silver equivalent in 2011. First metal was poured at Santa Elena in September 2010.
A three year expansion plan is underway to double metals production at the mine and exploration programs are advancing the definition of a large polymetallic deposit at SilverCrest's La Joya property in Durango, Mexico.
In late March, the precious metals producer unveiled the results of the first six, phase two drill holes from 18 completed to date at its La Joya property, extending the main mineralized trend 500 metres northwest.
Notables holes included 32.3 metres of 95.8 g/t silver equivalent in hole L J DD11-27, and 51.3 metres of 90.4 g/t silver equivalent in hole L J DD11-29, including 21.8 metres of 158.3 g/t silver equivalent.
In January, the company announced an initial inferred resource on a portion of the trend of 57.9 million tonnes grading 28 grams per tonne (g/t) silver, 0.18 g/t gold and 0.21% copper, containing 101.9 million ounces of silver equivalent.
Shares of the miner were up nearly five percent Thursday morning to $2.35, and are up over 22 percent year-to-date.

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