First Majestic: 1Q Silver-Equivalent Output Falls; Silver Production To Rise
(Kitco News) - First Majestic Silver Corp. (NYSE: AG; TSX: FR) reported Thursday that silver-equivalent output eased in the first quarter, but silver output is expected to rise this year, with most of the increase in the second half.
The company said its six operating silver mines churned out 3.9 million silver-equivalent ounces. Total production consisted of 2.2 million ounces of silver, 15,887 ounces of gold, 4.4 million pounds of lead and 1.6 million pounds of zinc.
The silver-equivalent total was down from 4.3 million in the same quarter a year ago and 4.1 million in the fourth quarter.
The total amount of ore processed rose 10% from the fourth quarter, the company said. However, consolidated silver grades in the quarter averaged 111 grams per tonne, down from 125 in the previous quarter. The 11% decrease in silver grades was primarily the result of a 24% decline at La Encantada, First Majestic said. Head grades at La Encantada are expected to increase in the second half due to higher production rates from the San Javier area, which is known to contain silver grades of between 150 to 200 g/t.
“We are projecting a 15% increase is silver production in 2018; however, most of this increase will be realized in the second half of the year as the new roaster at La Encantada ramps up to commercial production,” said Keith Neumeyer, president and chief executive officer. “Furthermore, with the recent increase in reserve grades, head grades at the mills are expected to improve resulting in higher production and lower costs as the year develops.”