Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. (NYSE: FSM) (TSX: FVI) reports production results for the first quarter of 2022 from its four operating mines in the Americas and West Africa.
Gold and silver production highlights
The Company delivered a strong operating performance in the first quarter of 2022 with all mines on target to achieve annual guidance for silver and gold. Gold production of 66,800 ounces, an increase of 93 percent year-over-year, was driven by contributions of 30,068 ounces from the Lindero Mine and 28,235 ounces from the Yaramoko Mine, acquired on July 2021 (refer to Fortuna news release dated July 2, 2021). Silver production of 1.6 million ounces, a 13 percent decrease over the comparable period in 2021, was primarily driven by a 14 percent decrease in head grade at the San Jose Mine, which is in line with the Mineral Reserve average grade.
By-product base metal production amounted to 9.1 million pounds of lead and 10.8 million pounds of zinc.
Fortuna reiterates its annual production guidance range of 6.2 to 6.9 million ounces of silver and between 244 to 280 thousand ounces of gold or between 369,000 to 420,000 ounces gold equivalent2 in 2022, including lead and zinc by products (refer to Fortuna news release dated January 18, 2022).
First Quarter 2022 Consolidated Operating Highlights
|First Quarter 2022||First Quarter 2021|
|Yaramoko5, Burkina Faso||Caylloma,
|San Jose, Mexico||Caylloma,
|Average tpd milled||2,918||1,546||1,524||3,048||1,499|
|Ore placed on pad (t)||1,295,755||N/A||2,130,000|
The Company’s three mines in Latin America delivered a solid first quarter to start 2022. COVID-19 screening at our operations during January experienced a surge in detected positive cases, reaching a peak of 800 during the month. As at the end of March, positive screened cases had decreased to six.
Lindero Mine, Argentina: Gold production on target to achieve annual guidance
Gold production was 30,068 ounces, representing a 35 percent increase year-over-year. Higher gold production is explained by an increase in performance of the three-stage crushing and stacking circuits to design parameters, which delivered 100 percent of the 1.3 million tonnes of ore placed on the pad in the quarter, compared to 19 percent or 0.4 million tonnes of the 2.1 million tonnes placed in the comparable quarter a year ago. Mine production was 2.4 million tonnes of mineralized material with a strip ratio of 0.54:1.
In the first quarter of 2022, a total of 1.3 million tonnes of ore were placed on the leach pad, averaging 0.88 g/t gold and containing 36,568 ounces of gold. The operation lost man-hours in January as a result of the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases causing a 14 percent shortfall in ore placed on the pad, compared to plan for the quarter. The Company is executing a recovery plan during the second and third quarters of the year and does not anticipate any impact on achieving annual production guidance.
The reconciliation of ore sent to the leach pad for tonnes and grade were within 1 percent compared to the reserve model in the first quarter.
San Jose Mine, Mexico: Silver and gold production in line to meet annual guidance
The San Jose Mine produced 1,358,189 ounces of silver and 8,239 ounces of gold, both on target to meet the annual guidance range. Measured against the comparable quarter, silver and gold production was 18 percent and 20 percent lower, respectively. The driver for the decrease in production was primarily lower average head grades of 15 percent and 17 percent for silver and gold, respectively; which is in line with Mineral Reserve estimates.
Caylloma Mine, Peru: Steady performer
The Caylloma Mine produced 311,939 ounces of silver and is on target to meet the upper range of annual guidance. Silver production was 17 percent higher than the comparable period, driven by a 15 percent increase in average head grade from the contribution of newly scheduled higher-grade production stopes located in level 16 of the Animas vein.
Zinc and lead production of 10,826,902 pounds and 9,133,752 pounds are in line to meet annual guidance range.
In the first quarter of 2022, the West African region performed strongly. Following the January military coup in Burkina Faso, business in country returned quickly to normal and our operations in the country were never disrupted. Gold production at the Yaramoko Mine is in line to meet the annual guidance range.
At the Séguéla gold Project in Côte d’Ivoire, construction activities are progressing on-time and on-budget with delivery of key supply packages such as the SAG mill and high voltage transformers on schedule. Overall construction is 48 percent complete as of the end of March 2022.
Yaramoko Mine, Burkina Faso: Gold production on target to meet the upper range of annual guidance
The Yaramoko Mine produced 28,235 ounces of gold in the first quarter of 2022 with an average gold head grade of 7.50 g/t.
Gold production is on target to meet the upper end of the annual guidance range primarily due to mill feed grade being 9 percent higher than budgeted for the period. Positive grade reconciliation compared to the reserve model at the 55 Zone and additional tonnes from ore development explain the increase in grade.
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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