Monday, 15 April 2013

Great Panther Silver sees rise in Q1 production; to focus on grade, cost controls in 2013

Great Panther Silver (TSE:GPR) (NYSE MKT: GPL) says that both silver and gold production increased in the first quarter compared to the same quarter last year, reaffirming its 2013 production estimate of between 2.4 and 2.5 million silver equivalent ounces.
The company's current activities are focused on its two wholly-owned operating mines in Mexico - Topia and Guanajuato – and the development stage San Ignacio project as well as the exploration project El Horcon.
For the quarter that ended March 31, the company reported metal production of 607,501 silver equivalent ounces, up nine per cent from 557,606 silver equivalent ounces in the year-ago period.
Silver production rose three per cent to 369,624 ounces, while gold production saw a 15-per-cent increase to 3,144 gold ounces.
"We are pleased that our operational results for the first quarter were ahead of plan and we expect that the cost reduction and efficiency efforts we have initiated will begin to be realized in future quarters," said CEO Bob Archer in the statement Monday. 
"Our focus for the remainder of 2013 will be on grade and cost controls at both operations, advancement of development at San Ignacio and pushing ahead with the drill program at El Horcon.”
Total ore processed in the quarter was up 36 per cent to 69,540 tonnes, from 51,198 tonnes a year earlier.
At its Guanajuato operation, Great Panther processed 52,545 tonnes, up 35 per cent year-over-year, at ore grades of 148 grams per tonne (g/t) silver and 1.93g/t gold. Metal production included 399,417 silver equivalent ounces, an increase of one per cent over the same period in 2012. 
Silver grades were lower than anticipated across all zones, the company noted, with future work to be concentrated on grade control.
At Topia, 16,995 tonnes were processed, up 37 per cent, at ore grades of 300 g/t silver, 0.65 g/t gold, 1.81 per cent lead and 2.94 per cent zinc. Metal production totalled 208,084 silver equivalent ounces, up 29 per cent over the same period in 2012.
At San Ignacio, the company received the explosives permit and began rehabilitating the surface infrastructure in the first quarter, to prepare for the start of mining development activities. It expects to secure a land use permit and the environmental impact assessment approvals in the third quarter, with a view to start production in 2014.
Finally, at the El Horcon project, Great Panther says baseline studies for the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources have been completed and the permit to drill at the property was received earlier this month. 
A surface drill program is planned to start immediately, and will consist of 30 drill holes to test the Diamantillo vein as well as various splays and nearby parallel structures and veins.
In 2013, the company’s focus will be to “improve and strengthen” the operational efficiency of existing operations, thereby increasing cash flow and expanding the platform for more significant growth ahead.
Alongside its current operations, Great Panther says it is pursuing additional mining opportunities within Latin America, with the goal of adding to its portfolio of mineral properties.

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