Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. has reported its production results for 3Q21 from its four operating mines in the Americas and West Africa, the Lindero Mine in Argentina, the San Jose Mine in Mexico, the Caylloma Mine in Peru, and the Yaramoko Mine in Burkina Faso. The company produced 65 425 oz of gold and 1 711 881 oz of silver or 87 950 gold equivalent oz. Gold and silver production for the first nine months of 2021 totalled 131 029 oz and 5 518 458 oz, respectively, or 203 640 gold equivalent oz.
3Q21 consolidated production
- Gold production of 65 425 oz; 411% increase over 3Q20.
- Silver production of 1 711 881 oz; 20% decrease over 3Q20.
- Lead production of 8 245 289 lbs; 23% increase over 3Q20.
- Zinc production of 12 436 276 lbs; 21% increase over 3Q20.
3Q21 consolidated operating highlights
Lindero Mine, Argentina
During 3Q21, the onsite impact of COVID-19 diminished resulting in less disruptions to the operations, with the company screening 74 positive cases compared to 160 cases registered in 2Q21. To date, including company and contractor personnel, 94% of the workforce has been vaccinated with one dose and 40% with two doses. The government of Argentina has announced that travel restrictions will start to ease in November, which should improve lead times and onsite technical assistance from foreign vendors.
In 3Q21, a total of 1 387 134 t of ore were placed on the leach pad averaging 1.10 g/t gold containing an estimated 49 247 oz of gold.
Total gold production for the quarter was 26 235 oz, comprised of 24 318 oz in doré and an increase of 1918 oz of gold-in-carbon (GIC) inventory. Gold production for the first nine months of 2021 totalled 68 088 oz, in line with the updated annual guidance (refer to news release dated 19 July 2021).
The owner operated fleet continues to perform according to management's expectations. A total of 2 466 259 t of ore were mined in 3Q21, at a strip ratio of 0.86:1. Mine waste movement increased 29% compared to the previous quarter and is in line with plan.
Mine reconciliation and metallurgical performance
Reconciliation of tonnes, grade and gold ounces mined as ore, continues to demonstrate a good correlation with the reserve model with differences for all parameters of less than 6% for 3Q21 and less than 3% for the year to date.
The metallurgical balance indicates that overall actual gold recovery from the heap continues to increase and is in line with expected theoretical recoveries based on the granulometric composition and metallurgical types of ore placed on the leach pad and results of ongoing 2.5-m-tall column test work conducted to date.
All processing areas are performing as planned with 1 235 602 t of crushed ore placed on the leach pad via conveyor stacking during 3Q21, an 83% increase over the previous quarter.
Material placed during the quarter on the leach pad was in line with the updated plan, averaging 13 430 tpd, 41% above the previous quarter. The operation has achieved steady growth in performance through the quarter, averaging 14 514 tpd during the month of September, including over 16 000 tpd during the second half of the month.
The expansion of carbon columns at the ADR plant is on schedule and commissioning is expected early in 4Q21.
San Jose Mine, Mexico
The San Jose Mine produced 1 436 658 oz of silver and 8910 oz of gold in 3Q21 with average head grades for silver and gold of 195 g/t and 1.22 g/t, respectively. Silver and gold production for the first nine months of 2021 totalled 4 707 496 oz of silver and 29 477 oz of gold. Production for the quarter and year to date are in line with guidance with lower head grades for silver and gold vs 3Q20.
Yaramoko Mine, Burkina Faso
The Yaramoko Mine produced 28 751 oz of gold in 3Q21 with an average gold head grade of 7.28 g/t; slightly below the plan for the quarter.
Unplanned downtime due to the premature changeout of a SAG mill pinion bearing in August contributed to slightly lower mill throughput of 126 677 t in the quarter against a plan of 127 917 t. This, in addition to some necessary re-sequencing of production stopes at the 55 Zone, due to isolated ground conditions causing bridging which resulted in a reprioritisation of lower grade stopes, contributed to the minor production short-fall.
These issues have been remedied and are not expected to continue nor affect 4Q21 performance, which is expected to be in line with guidance.
Caylloma Mine, Peru
Since 3Q20, Caylloma’s production continues to benefit from higher contribution of mineralised material from the expansion into the Animas NE reserves, where the company has focused exploration over the last couple of years. In 3Q21, the mine produced 275 223 oz of silver with an average head grade of 78 g/t. Silver production for the first nine months of 2021 totalled 810 962 oz, which is above plan.
Gold production was 1529 oz, an increase of 12% over 3Q20. The increase in production is due to higher head grades located in the Animas NE vein. Gold production for the first nine months of 2021 totalled 4712 oz, which is above plan.
Lead and zinc production for 3Q21 was 8 245 289 lbs and 12 436 276 lbs respectively. Base metal production for the first nine months of 2021 totalled 36 169 039 lbs of zinc and 24 570 519 lbs of lead. The higher zinc and lead production for the quarter, compared to the same period in 2020, is mainly due to the voluntary 21-day suspension of operations in 2020 to sanitise and disinfect the mine site (refer news release dated 28 July 2021).
The Animas NE vein is emerging as a new centre of gravity for the mine’s production, where exploration potential remains open in multiple directions.
Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/finance-business/12102021/fortuna-reports-3q21-production/