TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Vancouver-based First Majestic Silver could start paying a dividend from next year, CEO Keith Neumeyer said on Monday.
“We have discussed it quite a bit,” he said in response to a question on a conference call.
The company, which has been benefiting from historically high silver prices, needs to continue investing in its mines and new projects, Neumeyer said.
“But I would see a dividend payment commence in the first quarter of 2012.”
The company's board of directors will need to approve any dividend policy or payment, Neumeyer said, adding that he believes the first-quarter 2012 schedule is likely to achieve.
“The treasury is going up substantially, we have something just shy of $100-million in the bank right now.”
First Majestic, which operates three mines in Mexico and is developing two new projects, increased net income after taxes to $23,9-million, a big jump from $0,4-million a year earlier.
Production on a silver-equivalent basis also rose 13% year-on-year, to 1,83-million for the first quarter of 2011.
Total cash costs increased 8%, to $8,26/oz, while the average revenue per payable silver-equivalent ounce almost doubled, to $32,60/oz.
“The company benefited from the strong surge in silver prices while maintaining its production levels comparable to the previous quarter, even with two major construction projects under way,” Neumeyer said in an earlier statement.
“The expansion of the La Parrilla operation is proceeding well and on track, while land clearing and mine development at Del Toro is advancing nicely.
The company is seeing some cost pressures as a result of a strong Mexican peso and inflation in the costs of materials and energy, and could “revisit” its cost estimates for the year after the second quarter, Neumeyer said.