BASE METALS

Silvercorp Metals lifts third-quarter output across all metals

Silvercorp Metals reported quarter-on-quarter production increases ranging from 7% to 38% from its mines in Henan and Guangdong provinces during the December quarter.

Robin Bromby
The Ying silver-lead-zinc property in Henan Province, China

The Ying silver-lead-zinc property in Henan Province, China

Silver output rose to 1.8 million ounces for the three months (up 8%), while mined gold totalled 1,100oz (up 38%). For the quarter, 19Mlb of lead (up 8%) and 8Mlb of zinc (7%) made up the rest of production slate.

The results were not good enough for BMO Capital Markets analyst Ryan Thompson, who said the silver total "missed our lofty expectation of 2.1Moz by 12%".

BMO has consequently trimmed its target price slightly to C$6.00 per share. The stock closed at C$4.42 on January 14.

For the first nine months of fiscal-year 2022, Silvercorp produced 5Moz silver, 2,900oz of gold, 52.5Mlb lead and 22.7Mlb zinc.

Ore production and head grades were affected at the SGX mine in the Henan in November when operations were suspended for 10 days as a precautionary measure due to heavy rain in the Yellow River region.

However, operations may also have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Recently, [a] strict COVID-19 quarantine policy imposed by local governments where our mines are located has caused uncertainty for workers travelling home and back during [the] Chinese New Year holiday, which may have some impact on production for the fourth quarter," the company said.

The company described itself as China's premier silver producer.

Silvercorp entered China in 2003, starting operations at the Ying Mining district in Henan province, and in 2014 it expanded into Guangdong province with the GC silver-zinc mine.

Thompson noted that GC mine production in the third quarter was better than expected, with 187,000oz silver just beating BMO's 181,000oz estimate.

For the year ending March 31, 2022, BMO forecasted silver production of 6.1Moz (a little below the guidance range of 6.3Moz to 6.6Moz) and lead was predicted to also fall below the company's guidance and come in at 64.2Mlb.

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