Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. (NYSE: FSM) (TSX: FVI) reports solid production results for the third quarter of 2022 from its four operating mines in the Americas and West Africa.
Gold and silver production highlights
The Company delivered another consistent production quarter with all mines on target to achieve annual guidance for silver and gold. Gold production of 66,344 ounces, a slight increase of 1.4 percent year-over-year, was mainly driven by contributions of 30,032 ounces from the Lindero Mine and 27,130 ounces from the Yaramoko Mine. Silver production of 1,837,506 ounces, a 7.3 percent increase over the comparable period in 2021, was primarily driven by higher tonnage treated at the San Jose Mine. The Company is in a good position to achieve the upper range of silver annual guidance.
By-product base metal production amounted to 9.1 million pounds of lead and 11.9 million pounds of zinc.
Silver and gold production for the first nine months of 2022 totaled 5,160,529 ounces and 195,315 ounces, respectively or 301,649 gold equivalent ounces2. Fortuna reiterates its 2022 annual production guidance range of 6.2 to 6.9 million ounces of silver and 244 to 280 thousand ounces of gold or between 369,000 and 420,000 gold equivalent ounces3, including lead and zinc by-products (refer to Fortuna news release dated January 18, 2022).
Third Quarter 2022 Consolidated Operating Highlights
|Third Quarter 2022||Third Quarter 2021|
|Yaramoko, Burkina Faso||Caylloma,
|San Jose, Mexico||Yaramoko, Burkina Faso||Caylloma,
|Average tpd milled||3,071||1,491||1,546||2,862||1,377||1,516|
|Ore placed on pad (t)||1,365,726||1,387,134|
Latin America: Continues delivering solid operational performance
The Company’s three Latin American mines delivered another steady production quarter for all metals. Consolidated gold production for the third quarter of 2022 reflected a 6.9 percent increase when compared to the same period of 2021; on track to meet the annual guidance range. The 2022 third quarter also saw stronger silver and base metals production at the San Jose and Caylloma mines, favored by higher production and higher head grades for the period.
Lindero Mine, Argentina: Gold production remains in line to meet annual guidance range
Gold production in the quarter was 30,032 ounces, representing a 14.5 percent increase year-over-year. Higher gold production is mainly explained by an increase in performance of the three-stage crushing and stacking circuits, which delivered 100 percent of the 1.37 million tonnes of ore placed on the pad in the quarter, compared to 89 percent or 1.2 million tonnes of the 1.39 million tonnes placed during the comparable period.
During the third quarter of 2022, mine production was 2.2 million tonnes of mineralized material with a lower stripping ratio of 0.83:1 when compared to the second quarter of 2022. The reduction in the stripping ratio was a result of optimizing the mine plan sequence during the period. A total of 36,501 ounces of gold were placed on the leach pad averaging 0.83 g/t gold.
Construction of Phase-1B of the leach pad was completed during the quarter as planned, ensuring sufficient capacity to support the production plan through the second half of 2024. Detail engineering work for the Phase-2 leach pad expansion was initiated in the third quarter of 2022 and is expected to be completed by year end. Construction work on Phase-2 is planned to commence in 2023.
The operation experienced a positive reconciliation for ore sent to the leach pad during the third quarter, with grades sampled at the plant being 5.6 percent higher than estimated from the reserve model.
Gold production for the first nine months of 2022 totaled 89,116 ounces.
San Jose Mine, Mexico: Strong quarterly performance, on track to achieve annual guidance
In the third quarter of 2022, the San Jose Mine produced 1.55 million ounces of silver and 9,091 ounces of gold, 7.6 percent and 2.0 percent higher respectively, when compared to the equivalent period in 2021. The result is primarily due to higher mill throughput, with grades in line with the mining sequence and Mineral Reserve estimates. Silver production is tracking to meet the upper range of annual guidance.
Silver and gold production for the first nine months of 2022 totaled 4.29 million ounces and 25,625 ounces, respectively.
Caylloma Mine, Peru: Continued strong performance, on target to meet the upper range of annual guidance
The Caylloma Mine produced 292,096 ounces of silver in the third quarter of 2022. Measured against the comparable quarter of the previous year, silver was 6.1 percent higher due to a combination of increased mill throughput, higher grades and better recoveries.
The operation delivered another strong quarter of operational performance and is tracking well to deliver total production in the upper range of guidance. Silver production for the first nine months of 2022 totaled 871,594 ounces.
In the third quarter of 2022, zinc production was 11.9 million pounds, a 4.4 percent decrease from the comparable period in 2021. Production was, mainly impacted by lower head grades partially offset by higher mill throughput and recovery. Lead production in the third quarter of 2022 was 9.1 million pounds, a 10.2 percent increase when compared to the third quarter of 2021, as a result of higher head grades, recovery, and mill throughput.
Zinc and lead production for the first nine months of 2022 totaled 33.6 million pounds and 25.9 million pounds, respectively. Both metals are in line to achieve the upper range of guidance.
During the third quarter of 2022, an assessment study for a potential expansion of the mine and processing plant was commenced, with tradeoff results expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2023.
In the third quarter of 2022, the West African operations continued their steady performance. Gold production at the Yaramoko Mine in Burkina Faso is on track to meet the annual guidance range.
At the Séguéla gold Project in Côte d’Ivoire, despite some delays incurred in the manufacture and delivery of certain SAG mill components, construction activities are progressing in line with schedule and budget. As of September 30th, overall project progress was 78 percent complete. Many equipment packages have arrived at site, earthworks and civil works are well advanced, and work has commenced on structural, mechanical and piping (SMP) critical path activities at the processing plant. First gold pour continues to be projected for mid-2023.
Fortuna is advancing its preparedness for operations at Séguéla, which included the hiring of the Operations General Manager and other key leadership positions in the quarter.
Yaramoko Mine, Burkina Faso: Gold production on target to meet the upper range of annual guidance
The Yaramoko Mine produced 27,130 ounces of gold in the third quarter of 2022 with an average gold head grade of 6.21 g/t, which is in line with the mining sequence and Mineral Reserve estimate. The operation benefitted from higher mill throughput and operating time during the quarter offset by lower head grades when compared to the third quarter in 2021.
The operational focus remains on advancing development of the decline to maintain stope sequencing flexibility in the mine for the remainder of 2022 and into 2023.
Gold production for the first nine months of 2022 totaled 79,918 ounces, in line with the annual guidance range.
Eric Chapman, Senior Vice President of Technical Services of Fortuna, is a Professional Geoscientist of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of the Province of British Columbia (Registration Number 36328) and a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101- Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects. Mr. Chapman has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information contained in this news release and has verified the underlying data.
About Fortuna Silver Mines Inc.
Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. is a Canadian precious metals mining company with four operating mines in Argentina, Burkina Faso, Mexico and Peru, and a fifth mine under construction in Côte d’Ivoire. Sustainability is integral to all our operations and relationships. We produce gold and silver and generate shared value over the long-term for our stakeholders through efficient production, environmental protection, and social responsibility.
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