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Fortuna reports 1Q21 production

Published by
Global Mining Review,


Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. has reported its production results for 1Q21 from its three operating mines in Latin America, the San Jose Mine in Mexico, the Caylloma Mine in Peru, and the Lindero Mine in Argentina. The company produced 1 913 755 oz of silver and 34 555 oz of gold or 59 736 gold equivalent oz. Fortuna is on schedule to produce between 6.8 to 7.6 million oz of silver and between 178 000 to 202 000 oz of gold or between 267 000 to 302 000 oz gold equivalent in 2021, in accordance with the annual production guidance (refer to news release dated 19 January 2021).

1Q21 consolidated production highlights

  • Silver production of 1 913 755 oz; 5% increase over 1Q20.
  • Gold production of 34 555 oz; 242% increase over 1Q20.
  • Lead production of 8 181 355 lbs; 6% increase over 1Q20.
  • Zinc production of 11 968 896 lbs; 1% increase over 1Q20.

1Q21 consolidated operating highlights

San Jose Mine, Mexico

The San Jose Mine produced 1 646 444 oz of silver and 10 301 oz of gold in 1Q21, in line with budget. Average head grades for silver and gold were 217 g/t and 1.36 g/t, 10 and 11% above budget for the quarter, respectively, due to better grades encountered in planned production stopes of the mine with respect to the reserve model.

Caylloma Mine, Peru

In 1Q21, the Caylloma Mine produced 267 311 oz of silver with an average head grade of 77 g/t, 4 and 6% above budget, respectively.

Caylloma continued to contribute significant gold production in 1Q21. Gold production was 1922 oz, an increase of 308% with respect to the comparable period of 2020. The increase in gold production is related to higher head grades encountered in the Animas NE vein. The exploration team continues to carry out work to better understand the continuity of these higher-grade zones.

Lead and zinc production for 1Q21was 8 181 355 lbs and 11 968 896 pounds, 9% above and in line with budget, respectively. The average head grades for lead and zinc were 3.21% and 4.7%, 13 and 11% above budget, respectively.

Lindero Mine, Argentina

Lindero remains on track to achieve 2021 annual gold production guidance of 140 000 – 160 000 oz.

Government mandated international travel restrictions due to COVID-19 is limiting onsite access to foreign vendor support. This continues to affect Lindero’s ramp up progress in specific areas such as the stacking system and the SART plant. The operation is resolving these challenges via the use of remote assistance technology and other initiatives.

In 1Q21, a total of 2.13 million t of ore were placed on the heap leach pad averaging 0.82 g/t gold, containing an estimated 56 330 oz of gold. The operation placed 65% more oz on the heap leach pad and produced 53% more oz in doré compared to 4Q20. Total gold production was 22 332 oz comprised of 20 562 oz in doré and 1770 oz of gold-in-carbon (GIC) inventory.

Mining

A total of 1.6 million t of ore were mined in 1Q21 at a strip ratio of 0.76:1. Mining of ore was in line with expectation, while waste rock movement was 47% lower than planned due to the prioritisation of mining trucks to stack ore on the leach pad. Waste movement is scheduled to increase during 2H21 to align the operation with the waste stripping plan for 2021. Reconciliation of the reserve model estimate indicates a good correlation with tonnes, grade, and gold ounces mined within 5% of predicted.

Processing

The ramp up of the primary and secondary crushing circuits is progressing according to plan with crushing in March averaging 15 770 tpd and throughput averaging 960 tph, representing 84 and 92% of design capacity, respectively. During March, crushing peaked at 20 000 tpd.

The tertiary-HPGR crusher, agglomeration plant, and stacking system throughput averaged 7600 tpd in March, achieving 41% of design capacity. During the quarter, the limiting factor for higher throughput was the stacking system, where the operation encountered challenges with automation, mechanical, and operational issues. As at the end of March, the automation and mechanical issues were largely resolved while training of the workforce continues. In the first days of April, the stacking system peaked at 14 780 tpd, 79% of design capacity.

In order to remain on track to achieve annual gold production guidance, the operation continues to place coarse ore from the secondary crusher’s stockpile via trucks and run of mine material representing 81% of ore placed on the heap leach pad in the quarter.

Recovery of gold for the different granulometries of ore placed on the heap leach pad is in line with expectations with 22332 oz of gold produced in the quarter.

The ADR plant is operating as per design capacity. The SART plant ramp up was suspended at the end of February to address operational issues with the copper and gypsum filters. Bypassing the SART plant is not expected to have a critical impact on gold production during the upcoming months due to the relative low levels of soluble copper in the pregnant solution. The operation expects to incorporate the SART plant into the process in 2Q21.

Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/mining/13042021/fortuna-reports-1q21-production/

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