Tahoe Resources Inc. has reported that it successfully achieved the high end of its annual gold production guidance range of 400 000oz – 450 000oz in 2017, with record gold production of 445 000oz in 2017. According to the company, strong gold production for the year was driven primarily by La Arena, which exceeded its guidance due to on-going positive mine plan reconciliation with both higher grade and additional tonnes. The positive performance from the gold business in 2017 underscores the increasingly significant contribution of the gold segment to the overall financial performance of the company.
Total cash costs and all-in sustaining costs for the full year 2017 are expected to be at or below the low end of the revised gold guidance range of CAN$650 – $700/oz and CAN$1050 – CAN$1150/oz, respectively, driven by higher production levels and lower operating and capital costs. G&A is expected to be at the low end of revised guidance, with exploration in line with expectations.
Project capital for the near-term expansion projects is expected to be at the low end of the revised guidance of CAN$100 – CAN$115 million for the year. As a reminder, the initial project capital guidance for 2017 was CAN$150 – CAN$175 million, but was revised downward by CAN$50 – CAN$60 million due to a deferral in timing of spend and prudent capital management by the company in response to the Escobal mine suspension. Both major expansion projects – the Shahuindo Crushing & Agglomeration Expansion and the Bell Creek Shaft Project – remain within their respective estimated total project spend of CAN$80 million each. The remaining project capital that was not incurred in 2017 will be spent in 2018 to complete the projects. Both projects remain on schedule to be completed by mid-2018.
Total silver production for 2017 was 9.9 million oz, predominantly from the Escobal mine during the first half of the year. There has been no production at Escobal since 7 June 2017 due to the on-going suspension of operations.
Despite the on-going interruption of mining operations at Escobal, Tahoe ended the year with cash and cash equivalents of approximately CAN$125 million at 31 December 2017. In addition, the company has access to CAN$75 million of the CAN$300 million revolving credit facility that matures on 19 July 2021, which remains fully undrawn.
As previously reported, the credit agreement includes terms that limit borrowing to a maximum of CAN$75 million during the period of suspension of the mining operations at Escobal. The company is working with its bank syndicate to renegotiate its credit facility which it expects to complete during the first quarter.