Production of Mexico's top silver miners slips

By
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The silver production of Mexico's top 10 miners declined in Q1, impacted by factors including lower grades and a focus on margins over volume.

The companies produced 34.8Moz, down 3% from 35.9Moz in the same period last year and from 36.7Moz in 1Q14, according to figures compiled by BNamericas.

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[GRAFICO:FIGURA:ID_3976]



THE TOP 10

1. Industrias Peñoles 14.2Moz

The Mexico City-based miner saw output dip from 14.4Moz in the year-ago quarter, due to lower grades at the Saucito mine, partly offset by improved grades at the Fresnillo operation. Both mines are operated by precious metals subsidiary Fresnillo.

Fresnillo expects to produce 49-51Moz silver in 2016.

2. Goldcorp 4.71Moz

Silver production at Goldcorp's Peñasquito mine fell from 5.09Moz due to lower grades. The company does not issue silver production guidance by mine.

3. First Majestic 3.07Moz

The Canada-based miner moved up one spot to third after output rose from 2.78Moz as a result of the addition of Santa Elena as the company's sixth Mexican silver mine. This year's silver guidance is 12.0-13.3Moz.

4. Pan American Silver 3.00Moz

Silver output at Pan American's three Mexican mines was up from 2.95Moz due to higher production at the Dolores and La Colorada operations, where expansions are under way, partly offset by a decline at the ageing Alamo Dorado mine.

The company expects to produce about 10.2Moz silver at its Mexican operations this year.

5. Southern Copper 2.90Moz

US-based Southern Copper's total by-product silver production was 4.1Moz, up from 3.2Moz.

No breakdown was given for production by country in the quarter. The 2.90Moz figure is based on the assumption that Mexico's share of production was unchanged from 2015 at 70.8%.

The company has not issued silver production guidance.

6. Minera Frisco 2.27Moz

Silver production was virtually unchanged from 2.26Moz. Frisco, controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, has nine mines, all in Mexico. The company has not issued production guidance.

7. Endeavour Silver 1.51Moz

Canada's Endeavour was up from eighth spot last year despite a decline in production from 1.82Moz. The company plans to place its El Cubo mine on care and maintenance at year-end and has halted development and exploration at its Bolañitos operation.

Silver production across its three Mexican operations is forecast at 4.9-5.3Moz this year.

8. Fortuna Silver 1.28Moz

Fortuna climbed two places as production rose from 1.10Moz, helped by higher grades and throughput at its San José mine. The company expects to complete an expansion to 3,000t/d from 2,000t/d throughput in July.

The mine is expected to produce 5.9Moz silver in 2016.

9. Coeur Mining 0.93Moz

Production at Coeur's Palmarejo mine fell from 1.35Moz, in line with expectations as the US company transitions to higher grade and margin underground operations.

Output is expected at 3.9-4.4Moz in 2016.

10. Primero Mining 0.92Moz

The Canadian miner saw silver output at its San Dimas gold-silver mine fall by over half from 1.93Moz, resulting from an overhaul of safety standards.

The company also scrapped a mill expansion at San Dimas. Primero expects to produce 8.5-9.5Moz silver at the mine in 2016.