PRECIOUS METALS

Gatos Silver reports record output in fourth quarter

Gatos Silver, which operates the 75%-owned Cerro Los Gatos (CLG) mine in Mexico’s Chihuahua state, reported record quarterly output, although lead and zinc totals were slightly lower than for the previous three months.

Robin Bromby
 Gatos Silver's Cerro Los Gatos operation in Mexico

Gatos Silver's Cerro Los Gatos operation in Mexico

Some 2.3 million ounces of silver was achieved at the mine in the fourth quarter. The total for 2021 was 7.6Moz, which exceeded the company's guidance of 7.4Moz. The year's figure was helped by higher mill throughput and better silver ore grades.

Notably, silver output in the fourth quarter was up 35% on the preceding three months, with 90% recovery rates in the plant.

In addition to output of 1.3Moz of gold, CLG managed 4,672 tonnes of lead in concentrate and 5,853t of zinc in concentrate.

The lower lead and zinc figures resulted from the mining of lower ore grades, but were consistent with guidance, the company said.

Chief executive officer Stephen Orr said the record performance reflected the progressive enhancements to processing and mining productivity.

"The CLG operation is now positioned for further production improvement initiatives and cost reduction in 2022," he added.

BMO Capital Markets analyst Ryan Thompson said he would maintain his December-quarter earnings per share of $0.19 on Gatos Silver, which is dual listed on the NYSE and TSX.

He added that the company's plant is performing well.

Record throughput of 241,000t was achieved in the quarter, up 3% on the July-September period.

Completed in 2021, infrastructure including a central zone refrigeration plant, improved water management facilities, the commissioning of a real-time monitoring and reagent addition, along with the refinement of the mining cycle, all contributed to the latest results, Thompson added.

Recovery rates of silver and zinc exceeded plant design specifications.

Gatos Silver will report full-year financial results on March 9.

 

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