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First Majestic Lists Record Output In 2018

Kitco News

(Kitco News) - First Majestic Silver Corp. reported Monday that the company achieved record full-year production in 2018 and listed guidance calling for even higher output in 2019.

Production during 2018 reached 22.2 million silver-equivalent ounces, a 37% increase over 2017 and at the upper end of the guidance range of 20.5 million to 22.6 million silver-equivalent ounces, First Majestic said. This included 11.7 million ounces of silver, 111,084 ounces of gold, 16.1 million pounds of lead and 5.7 million pounds of zinc.

The annual silver output was just below guidance of 12 million to 13.2 million ounces primarily due to lower-than-expected production at La Encantada, First Majestic said.

Meanwhile, fourth-quarter production was 6.5 million silver-equivalent ounces. This includes 3.3 million ounces of silver, 34,487 ounces of gold, 3.3 million pounds of lead and 1.5 million pounds of zinc.

First Majestic projected 2019 total production will be between 24.7 million and 27.5 million silver-equivalent ounces, including 14.2 million to 15.8 million ounces of silver.

"The addition of San Dimas effectively doubled our production profile and total Mexican workforce overnight," said Keith Neumeyer, president and chief executive officer. "Unfortunately, due to falling silver prices in the second half of 2018, we needed to implement various cost-cutting measures, including placing the La Guitarra mine on care and maintenance, reducing our workforce by approximately 15%, and scaling back capital investments by approximately 20%."

For 2019, Neumeyer added, "we expect to reach another new production record of between 24.5 and 27.5 million silver-equivalent ounces along with a much leaner cost profile primarily due to a full year of production from San Dimas, the start-up of the roaster at La Encantada and the installation of high-intensity grinding mills at the Santa Elena and La Encantada operations. The combination of the HIG mill and roaster at La Encantada is extremely encouraging as it has the potential to re-establish the operation as a significant silver producer of 4 to 5 million ounces per year once these mill upgrades are completed."

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