TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Vancouver-based Fortuna Silver Mines will begin production at a higher level and ramp up faster than initially planned, when its San Jose precious-metals mine starts up later this year, the firm said on Wednesday.
The company has updated and optimised its mine plan and is now expecting a start-up production rate of 1 000 t/d, compared with 750 t/d envisaged in an April 2010 feasibility study.
San Jose will also ramp up to the design capacity of 1 500 t/d by the fourth quarter of 2013, rather than early 2016, Fortuna said.
The mine is expected to produce a an average of around 21.6-million ounces of silver and 172 815 oz of gold between 2011 and 2019, with life-of-mine cash costs estimated at $2.84/oz of silver after by-product credits.
“We believe we are now in a position to achieve the maximum 1 500-t/d design capacity only 18 months after the start up of operations in the third quarter of this year,” CEO Jorge Ganoza said in a statement.
This should translate into higher initial silver and gold output in a very favourable metal price environment.”
The company has an ore stockpile of around 33 000 t, which works out to just over one month of mill feed at 1 000 t/d, Ganoza said. “Our mining team continues to build the stockpile up as we get ready for commercial operation."
Fortuna already operates the Caylloma mine in Peru, which produced 437 123 ounces of silver, 5.05-million pounds of lead and 5.74-million pounds of zinc in the first quarter of this year.