SilverCrest Mines (TSX-V: SVL) has revised its full year 2013 silver guidance after producing more silver than planned in the second quarter from its flagship Santa Elena silver-gold mine in Sonora, Mexico.
The junior reported production of 194,022 oz of silver and 7,463 oz of gold, marking a quarter-over-quarter increase of 26% and 3% respectively. Silver equivalent output was up 20% to 665,684 oz.
The increased production helped bring silver output for the first half of the year to 347,503 oz or 11% above schedule. While gold production for the first six months was 14,688 oz, off by 11%.
But based on Santa Elena’s strong silver performance, SilverCrest has lifted its annual silver production guidance by 8% to 675,000 oz from 625,000 oz previously. It has kept its 2013 gold forecast at 33,000 oz.
The junior expects to maintain 2013 cash costs at or below US$8.50 per silver equivalent ounce explaining it’s reducing costs where possible while continuing to expand the Santa Elena mill capacity to 3,000 t/d from the current 2,500 t/d. The expanded mill is slated to start in January 2014 given work continues on track and within budget. The junior notes 65% of the budgeted 2013 capital cost of US$65 million for the expansion has been committed to date.
Commenting on the quarterly results, the company’s CEO Scott Drever said he was pleased with the mine’s performance and anticipates higher production in the last half of the year as SilverCrest starts mining higher grades at the Santa Elena pit.
Some highlights in the June quarter, include SilverCrest crushing 307,091 tonnes or 18% more than the previous quarter. It also saw silver and gold ounces delivered to the leach pad jump by 25% and 13% respectively to 651,570 oz of silver and 14,610 oz of gold, compared to the first quarter of 2013. Over the same period, average silver grade for the ore loaded onto the pad increased by 6% to 65.99 grams, while the average gold grade fell 5% to 1.48 grams.
Despite the drop in gold grade, gold sales were in line with the previous quarter. SilverCrest sold 7,375 oz of gold, while silver ounces sold increased 15% to 181,398 oz.
The junior reported waste-to-ore ratio of 2.52, which is in line with the mine plan.
To read more Northern Miner articles, click here