Thursday, 11 October 2012

Great Panther Silver says Q3 silver production grew 8%

Great Panther Silver (TSE:GPR)(MKT:GPL)(AMEX:GPL) Wednesday said silver production was up 8 percent at 371,857 ounces in the third quarter.
The company, which has two wholly-owned Mexican silver mining operations - Guanajuato and Topia - said gold production was up 102 per cent to 3,015 ounces and overall metal production was up 22 per cent to 592,586 silver equivalent ounces.
Ore processed at the company's two operations was up 9 per cent to 58,307 tonnes.            
At Guanajuato, Great Panther Silver said that ore grades of 188 grams per tonne (g/t) silver and 2.22 g/t gold, or 321 g/t silver equivalent, were up 32 per cent. Guanajuato achieved very good metallurgical recoveries of 90.9% and 91.9% for silver and gold respectively.
The Guanajuato operation processed 43,714 tonnes - up 6 per cent from a year earlier - at ore grades of 188 g/t silver and 2.22 g/t gold, or 321 g/t silver equivalent, up 32 per cent from last year. 
Metal production included 239,992 silver ounces and 2,866 gold ounces or 411,959 silver equivalent ounces, up 44 per cent from Q3 2011.
Development and production in the lower levels of Cata yielded 14,785 tonnes grading 331 g/t silver and 1.87 g/t gold and constituted 51 per cent of total metal production. 
Ore development on the 525 metre level in Cata will commence before the end of the year. The current production from three levels in Santa Margarita area continues to add to gold production with 9,549 tonnes averaging 5.39 g/t gold and 26 g/t silver during the quarter. Similar tonnages and grades are expected for the fourth quarter.
Ore produced from Los Pozos totaled 11,962 tonnes at grades of 173g/t Ag and 0.77g/t Au. The 420 metre level has been accessed to allow development along strike during the fourth quarter.
Production stoping in the Guanajuatito area continued from the 160 metre level and development on ore in the north zone on level 200 with ore production totaling 3,407 tonnes at grades of 174 g/t silver and 0.89 g/t gold. 
During the fourth quarter, stoping will begin in the north zone with the development of the new 245 metre level stoping block, Great Panther Silver said. 
The Rayas shaft was closed for maintenance during the latter part of the third quarter, primarily to enhance the overall safety conditions. A thorough assessment is underway and, when complete, will determine the cost and length of time required for rehabilitative work. 
Turning to Great Panther's Topia mine, ore processed was up 22 per cent from the a year earlier to 14,593 tonnes and ore grades were down 19 per cent to 442 g/t silver equivalent. 
The Topia operation processed 14,593 tonnes, a 23 per cent increase, at ore grades of 316 g/t silver, 0.55 g/t gold, 1.69% lead and 2.78% zinc, or 442 g/t silver equivalent.
Metal production included 131,865 ounces silver, 149 ounces gold, 497,819 pounds of lead and 812,445 pounds of zinc or 180,627 silver equivalent ounces.
Great Panther said that silver recovery was 89.0 per cent, gold recovery was 57.8 per cent, lead recovery was 91.4 per cent and zinc recovery was 90.9 per cent. 
In addition to processing the company's ore, 1,496 tonnes were custom milled for a local miner. Following the drought in the first half of 2012 that impeded plant operations, heavy rains in the third quarter caused humidity problems for crushing and screening. 
Despite this, overall throughput was increased due to the draw-down on ore stockpiles. The inventory of ore at the plant will continue to be depleted throughout the fourth quarter and is anticipated to be completely processed by year-end.
In August, the company signed a definitive agreement for the purchase of a 100 per cent interest in certain surface rights on its wholly-owned San Ignacio Project in Guanajuato, Mexico. 
A total of 19.4 hectares have been purchased, thereby allowing sufficient space for access to and construction of a portal for the development of a ramp, for waste dumps, and for auxiliary infrastructure. With the acquisition of the surface rights, the company has now applied for the permits required for the underground development.
The next steps towards the advancement of San Ignacio are: Phase V drill program is being planned for 2013, consisting of approximately 7,000 metres of drilling including approximately 6,000 metres of detailed infill drilling; permitting is anticipated to be completed by first quarter of 2013; new portal and ramp construction expected to begin early second quarter of 2013; first vein development to be extracted by the fourth quarter of 2013 and production is anticipated to begin to ramp up early in 2014.
Metal production for the first nine months of the year totaled 1,705,974 silver equivalent ounces as compared to 1,654,719 silver equivalent ounces for the first nine months of 2011, a 3 per cent increase. 
Metal production for the third quarter of 2012 increased 7 per cent over the second quarter of 2012 as several operating efficiencies, implemented earlier in the year, began to positively impact operations.
However, based upon production to date, and expectations for production for the remainder of the fourth quarter, the company is adjusting its guidance for metal production to a range of 2.2 to 2.4 million silver equivalent ounces for fiscal 2012 as compared to 2.5 to 2.75 as previously anticipated.
Looking ahead, Great Panther said it continues to seek out opportunities to add production in the districts within which it is already operating. To that end, the company has purchased a 100 per cent interest in the 7,900 hectare, El Horcon Property, within trucking distance of the company's Guanajuato Complex. 
El Horcon is a past producing mine and the company expects to commence a drill program in the first quarter of 2014 to delineate a resource.

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