Tuesday, 15 May 2012

SilverCrest Mines (CVE:SVL)(OTCQX:STVZF) Tuesday reported a jump in the amount of silver and gold it sold from its producing Santa Elena mine in Mexico.

For the three months ended March 31, SilverCrest said cash flow from operations reached $12.2 million in the first quarter of 2012, or $0.14 per share, on revenue of $19.6 million.

Net profit amounted to $6.3 million, up from a loss of $2.8 million a year earlier, or a profit of 7 cents per share from a loss of 4 cents in the first quarter of 2011.

"We had an excellent beginning for 2012. In Q1 we sold 641,546 silver equivalent ounces, with an average cash operating costs of $7.00 per ounce," SilverCrest's president J. Scott Drever said.

"The Santa Elena open pit heap leach mine operations continue to perform well and generated cash flows of $12.2 million which will help finance the Santa Elena Expansion plan to double metals production by 2014 and accelerate the exploration and development of our polymetallic La Joya Project.

"During the first quarter, total production was consistent with our plan and cash operating costs were below plan.

"As a result, we are confident in achieving our 2012 guidance of production of 435,000 silver ounces and 33,000 gold ounces at an average cash operating cost of $8.20 per silver equivalent ounce."

The company said silver sales were 139,771 ounces, up from 57,569 ounces last year, at an average realized price of $32.62. All silver production is unencumbered and sold at spot prices. Gold sales were 9,788 ounces, up from 2,333 ounces last year.

Looking ahead, for 2012 SilverCrest's immediate focus is to continue to efficiently operate its flagship Santa Elena open pit silver and gold mine, realize the full potential and value of the Santa Elena mine by diligently implementing the three year expansion plan to double metals production, and to rapidly advance the delineation of a large polymetallic deposit at the La Joya Property.

At Santa Elena, estimated full-year open pit annual production is seen at 33,000 gold ounces and 435,000 silver ounces and operating costs are seen at $18.5 million for 2012.

The budgeted capital expenditure for the 2012 Santa Elena Expansion is estimated at $20 million including expansion plan and exploration.

At the La Joya Project, the company will continue on its goal of completing Phase II drilling of approximately 80 holes.

The company will explore the Coloradito, Esperanza and Santo Nino targets and has a $6 million budget for exploration to the end of the year.

SilverCrest's flagship property is the 100 percent-owned Santa Elena Mine, which is located 150 km northeast of Hermosillo, near Banamichi in the State of Sonora, México.

Santa Elena 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 2,500 tonnes per day facility should recover approximately 4,805,000 ounces of silver and 179,000 ounces of gold over the 6.5 year life of the open pit phase of the Santa Elena Mine.

A three year expansion plan is underway to double metals production at the Santa Elena Mine and exploration programs are rapidly advancing the definition of a large polymetallic deposit at the La Joya property in Durango, Mexico.

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