(This is an abridged version of the press release. For the full version click here)
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - April 20, 2017) - First Majestic Silver Corp. (TSX:FR)(NYSE:AG)(FRANKFURT:FMV)(BVM:AG) ("First Majestic" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that total production in the first quarter of 2017 from its six operating silver mines reached 4.3 million equivalent ounces of silver. Total production consisted of 2.7 million ounces of silver, 15,095 ounces of gold, 7.5 million pounds of lead and 0.9 million pounds of zinc.
"During the first quarter, total production from our six producing mines met our quarterly guidance expectations," said Keith Neumeyer, President & CEO. "With the renewed investment in underground development and brownfields exploration, we continue to execute on our long-term growth plan to have additional production levels prepared in order to increase throughput rates and head grades at Del Toro, La Parrilla and La Encantada. Our 2017 silver production guidance of 11.1 - 12.4 million ounces, or 16.6 -18.5 million silver equivalent ounces, remains unchanged."
Production Details Table:
|Ore processed/tonnes milled|
|Total production - ounces of silver equivalent|
|Total silver ounces produced|
|Silver grade (g/t)|
|Silver recovery (%)|
|Gold ounces produced|
|Pounds of lead produced|
|Pounds of zinc produced|
Quarterly Operational Review:
Total ore processed during the quarter at the Company's six operating silver mines: Santa Elena, La Encantada, La Parrilla, Del Toro, San Martin and La Guitarra, amounted to 822,336 tonnes representing a 3% decrease compared to the previous quarter. The slight decrease was primarily due to mechanical challenges at Santa Elena causing a temporary reduction in the mill feed from the heap leach pad in the month of February.
Silver grades in the quarter averaged 136 g/t compared to 137 g/t in the previous quarter.
Combined silver recoveries averaged 75%, relatively unchanged compared to the previous quarter's average of 76%.
The Company's underground development in the first quarter consisted of 13,571 metres, reflecting a 9% decrease compared to 14,918 metres completed in the previous quarter. The Company also completed 29,000 metres of diamond drilling in the quarter, representing an 18% decrease compared to 36,351 metres in the prior quarter.
Mine by Mine Quarterly Production Table:
|*Certain amounts shown may not add exactly to the total amount due to rounding differences.|
|*The following prices were used in the calculation of silver equivalent ounces: Silver: $17.42 per ounce; Gold: $1,219 per ounce; Lead: $1.03 per pound; Zinc $1.26 per pound.|
At the Santa Elena Silver/Gold Mine:
- During the quarter, Santa Elena produced 581,425 ounces of silver and 11,261 ounces of gold for a total production of 1,369,875 silver equivalent ounces reflecting a 7% decrease compared to the prior quarter.
- The mill processed a total of 230,050 tonnes, consisting of 144,328 tonnes of underground ore and 85,722 tonnes from the above ground heap leach pad, representing an 11% decrease compared to the prior quarter.
- In February, mill feed from the heap leach pad was temporarily reduced by 50% to 500 tpd as a result of a major breakdown with one of the four power generators on site causing the operation to run on limited power for 10 days. The generator was successfully replaced in late February allowing the heap leach pad to return to normal operations in March.
- Silver and gold grades of underground ore averaged 110 g/t and 2.1 g/t, respectively. Whereas silver and gold grades from the above ground heap leach pad averaged 51 g/t and 0.7 g/t, respectively.
- At the end of the quarter, total development of the new San Salvador ramp reached 2,155 metres, or 94% of a 2,300 metre development plan. The new ramp will connect to the Main Vein along level 575 by April 2017. Once the ramp is completed, it is expected to improve underground productivity by reducing trucking bottlenecks.
- A total of 2,855 metres of underground development was completed in the first quarter compared to 3,029 metres of development in the previous quarter.
- A total of 3,730 metres of exploration drilling was completed in the first quarter compared to 5,391 metres of drilling in the previous quarter.
At the La Encantada Silver Mine:
- For the quarter, silver production reached 707,479 ounces representing a 25% increase over the previous quarter. The increase in silver production was primarily due to a 13% increase in tonnes milled and a 6% increase in recoveries.
- Silver grades averaged 137 g/t during the quarter, or a 4% increase compared to the prior quarter primarily due to the continued blending of ore from old stopes, stockpiles and the recovery of pillars. Grades are expected to improve towards the end of 2017 following the start of block caving production within the San Javier Breccia.
- The manufacturing of the roasting project advanced in the first quarter with approximately 62% of the major components now completed. The finished components will now be assembled into larger modules in order to reduce shipping and installation times. The Company expects the manufacturing process to be complete in the third quarter at which time the modules will begin shipping to site for final assembly.
- A total of 587 metres of underground development were completed in the first quarter compared to 1,015 metres of development in the previous quarter.
- A total of 2,805 metres were drilled in the first quarter compared to 4,197 metres of drilling in the previous quarter.
At the La Parrilla Silver Mine:
- During the quarter, the flotation circuit processed 85,984 tonnes (955 tpd) with an average silver grade of 132 g/t and an 82% recovery while the cyanidation circuit processed 54,608 tonnes (607 tpd) with an average silver grade of 147 g/t and a 70% recovery for total production of 667,431 silver equivalent ounces.
- The lead circuit processed an average lead grade of 1.2% with recoveries of 78% for total lead production of 1.8 million pounds, representing a 2% decrease compared to the previous quarter.
- The zinc circuit processed an average zinc grade of 1.0% with recoveries of 47% for total zinc production of 0.9 million pounds, representing a 27% decrease compared to the previous quarter. The decrease in zinc production was primarily due to a 13% decrease in mill throughput and a 12% decrease in zinc recoveries. Due to recent developments in delineation drilling in the Quebradillas and Rosarios areas, the Company expects to see a moderate increase in the zinc grades in the next 2 to 3 months.
- Underground development completed in the quarter totaled 2,827 metres compared to 3,181 metres developed in the previous quarter.
- A total of 4,867 metres was drilled in the first quarter compared to 5,665 metres of drilling in the previous quarter.
At the Del Toro Silver Mine:
- During the quarter, Del Toro produced a total of 682,219 silver equivalent ounces reflecting consistent production levels compared to the prior quarter.
- Silver grades and recoveries during the quarter averaged 163 g/t and 82%, respectively.
- Lead grades and recoveries averaged 4.8% and 68%, respectively, producing a total of 5.6 million pounds of lead, relatively consistent with the previous quarter.
- Underground development completed in the quarter totaled 2,710 metres compared to 2,377 metres developed in the previous quarter.
- Total exploration metres drilled in the quarter amounted to 3,589 metres compared to 3,614 metres of drilling in the previous quarter.