During the quarter, mining operations were suspended on 1 April 2020 as mandated by the Mexican government to halt the spread of COVID-19. In late May, mining was deemed to be an essential activity by the Mexican authorities, which allowed mining operations to start up with health protocols in place.
The company had the advantage of having already put in place a rigorous coronavirus prevention and response plan and having built up ore stockpiles at each mine site. This enabled the company to restart its operations, initially with plant personnel only, to process the ore stockpiles built up in 1Q20.
Therefore, 2Q20 plant throughput was only down 52% and AgEq production was down only 42% compared to 2Q19. Management expects to update shareholders on its 2H20 and full year production and cost guidance when it reports the 2Q220 financial results on 6 August 2020.
2020 Second Quarter Highlights
Mines Successfully Re-Started
Each mine plan was adjusted to enhance short term cash flow and in June, the mines exceeded their adjusted consolidated throughputs at higher than adjusted consolidated ore grades.
Guanacevi Continued to Outperform
Processed tonnes, silver and gold grades and recoveries continued to deliver well above plan. The operational turn-around and transition to mining the new, higher grade El Curso, Milache and SCS orebodies had a significant positive impact on the re-start. Ore stockpiles and pre-prepared long hole stopes allowed for an expedited restart, while the testing of the newly installed cone crushers in April allowed for significant plant throughput in May.
Bolanitos and El Compas Steady
Bolanitos and El Compas re-starts were slower than Guanacevi due to smaller stockpiles and a greater focus on mine development and grade control during the ramp up period. Gold grades exceeded historical grades in June, while silver grades remained low due to variations in the ore bodies.
Positive Bolanitos Drill Results
Drilling intersected new high-grade gold-silver mineralisation in the Melladito vein near the Bolanitos plant with assays up to 24.3 g/t gold and 787 g/t silver for 3217 g/t AgEq at a 100:1 silver:gold ratio over a 1.5 m true width in hole BN27. The new mineralised zone is 100 m long and 200 m deep and remains open in all directions within 300 m of the current mine workings.
Positive Guanacevi Drill Results
Drilling in 1Q20 intersected new high-grade gold-silver mineralisation in the Santa Cruz vein on the El Curso property with assays up to 1085 g/t silver and 3.25 g/t gold for 1410 g/t AgEq over 10.0 m true width in hole UCM-27. The new mineralized zone measures 250 m long by 150 m deep, still open along strike and at depth, within 100 m of the current mine access ramp.
Bradford Cooke, Endeavour CEO, commented: “I am pleased to report that notwithstanding the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Endeavour personnel were pro-active in minimising its impact on our mining operations in Mexico. We implemented our coronavirus prevention and response plan in mid-March and it has been very effective. I commend our Mexico management and employees for responding positively when called upon by these extraordinary circumstances.”
“During the mine suspension period, we sent our employees home on full salary while keeping essential personnel working at each mine site to maintain safety, security and equipment. After the mines restarted, we were able to outperform our adjusted mine plans in June. We will now look for opportunities to enhance our production in 2H20 to partly make up for lost ground in 1H20.”
Consolidated silver and gold production in 2Q20 were both lower than 2Q19 due to the suspension of the Guanacevi, Bolanitos and El Compas mines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the suspension of the El Cubo mine, related to lack of ore in November 2019. Ignoring El Cubo, 2Q20 production, pro-rated for the number of operating days, increased significantly due to the improved plant throughput and ore grades at Guanacevi.
Guanacevi silver and gold grades were higher than 2Q19 and well above plan, while silver recoveries were lower and gold recoveries were higher than 2Q19. Mining the new, higher grade El Curso, Milache and SCS orebodies, and processing the high-grade ore stockpiles plus using two refurbished cone crushers installed in April allowed for a quick, efficient ramp up of production in May. June plant throughput averaged 1051 tpd with a plan to increase to 1150 tpd in 2H20.
Bolanitos gold grades were higher and silver grades were lower than 2Q19 and approached planned grades. The mine re-start focused on accelerated mine development and additional dilution control in order to return to plan in 3Q20. June plant throughput averaged 1070 tpd. Mine development will continue to focus on accessing the San Miguel ore body and developing the Medallito discovery.
El Compas gold grades were higher and silver grades were lower than 2Q19, above and below planned grades respectively. The mine re-start focused on dilution controls and higher-grade material in the upper El Compas vein to improve short term cash flows. Management finished replacing the mining contractor with new employees in June, when throughput averaged 240 tpd. The transition from contractor cut and fill mining to employee long hole mining should be completed in 2H20.
Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/exploration-development/14072020/endeavour-silver-provides-2q20-update/