Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. (NYSE: FSM) (TSX: FVI) reports solid production results for the second quarter of 2022 from its four operating mines in the Americas and West Africa.
Gold and silver production highlights
The Company delivered a steady production performance in the second quarter of 2022 with all mines on target to achieve annual guidance for silver and gold. Gold production of 62,171 ounces, an increase of 100 percent year-over-year, was mainly driven by contributions of 29,016 ounces from the Lindero Mine and 24,553 ounces from the Yaramoko Mine, acquired in July 2021 (refer to Fortuna news release dated July 2, 2021). Silver production of 1,652,895 ounces, a 13 percent decrease over the comparable period in 2021, was primarily driven by a 9 percent decrease in head grade at the San Jose Mine, which is in line with the Mineral Reserve average grade for the second quarter.
By-product base metal production amounted to 7.6 million pounds of lead and 10.9 million pounds of zinc.
Silver and gold production for the first six months of 2022 totaled 3,323,023 ounces and 128,971 ounces, respectively. Fortuna reiterates its annual production guidance range of 6.2 to 6.9 million ounces of silver and 244 to 280 thousand ounces of gold; an annual production of 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).
Second Quarter 2022 Consolidated Operating Highlights
|Second Quarter 2022||Second Quarter 2021|
|Yaramoko3, Burkina Faso||Caylloma,
|Average tpd milled||2,831||1,567||1,528||3,029||1,536|
|Ore placed on pad (t)||1,502,074||N/A||1,502,074||1,477,000|
Solid gold and silver quarterly production at the Company’s mines in Latin America. The COVID-19 absenteeism impact on production experienced at the beginning of the year has been greatly mitigated by strong production at all three operating mines in the second quarter, demonstrating a steady production performance which is on track to meet the annual guidance range.
Lindero Mine, Argentina: Gold production aligned with annual guidance
Gold production was 29,016 ounces, representing a 49 percent increase year-over-year. Higher gold production is explained by an increase in performance of the three-stage crushing and stacking circuits, which delivered 99 percent of the 1.5 million tonnes of ore placed on the pad in the quarter, compared to 46 percent or 0.7 million tonnes of the 1.47 million tonnes placed in the comparable quarter a year ago. Mine production was 2.2 million tonnes of mineralized material with a strip ratio of 1:1.In the second quarter of 2022, a total of 1.5 million tonnes of ore were placed on the leach pad, averaging 0.74 g/t gold and containing 35,784 ounces of gold. During the second quarter, the operation was successful at mitigating and reducing the production shortfall of ore placed on the leach pad experienced in the first quarter by 50 percent (refer to Fortuna news release dated April 11, 2022). The operation continues delivering a strong performance aligned with annual guidance. Gold production for the first six months of 2022 totaled 59,084 ounces.
As part of the continuous measures to improve productivity, management has implemented various high impact optimization initiatives to capture efficiencies at both the processing plant and the mining operation, some of which were implemented during the second quarter. These initiatives include: the optimization of cyanide recovery at the SART plant to significantly reduce fresh make-up cyanide consumption; lowering the consumption of sulfuric acid at the SART plant, whilst maintaining its efficiency rate and copper balance; and optimizing the mining strategy by implementing additional temporary ramps to significantly decrease trucking distance, improve truck productivity, and ultimately reduce trucking hours and total fleet diesel consumption, supporting the Company´s carbon footprint reduction strategy.
The operation experienced a positive reconciliation for ore sent to the leach pad during the second quarter, with grades sampled at the plant being 17 percent higher than estimated from the reserve model.
San Jose Mine, Mexico: Steady performer, on track to achieve annual guidance
In the second quarter of 2022, the San Jose Mine produced 1.38 million ounces of silver and 8,295 ounces of gold, both on target to meet annual guidance. Measured against the comparable quarter of the previous year, silver and gold production was 15 percent and 19 percent lower respectively. The decreases are a result of a combination of 7 percent lower mill throughput, and lower average head grades of 9 percent for silver and 13 percent for gold, which are in line with the mining sequence and Mineral Reserve estimates. Silver and gold production for the first six months of 2022 totaled 2,743,525 ounces and 16,534 ounces, respectively.
The San Jose team has successfully implemented long hole stoping in select areas of the mine in 2022, with the aim to improve production capacity and reduce total mining cost per tonne. In addition, a new underground shotcrete plant was commissioned in the second quarter which is expected to reduce overall mining cycle times and support costs.
Caylloma Mine, Peru: Outperformer, on target to meet the upper range of annual guidance
The Caylloma Mine produced 267,559 ounces of silver in the second quarter of 2022. 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 six months of 2022 totaled 579,498 ounces.
Zinc and lead production in the second quarter of 2022 was 10.9 million pounds and 7.6 million pounds, respectively, in line to meet upper range of guidance. Zinc and lead production for the first six months totaled 21,713,328 pounds and 16,770,565 pounds, respectively.
In the second quarter of 2022, the West African operations continued their solid performance. Gold production at the Yaramoko Mine is on track to meet the annual guidance range.
At the Séguéla gold Project in Côte d’Ivoire, despite the challenges seen in the supply and logistics markets, construction activities are progressing on-time and on-budget with the overall project progress reported at 64 percent complete as of June 30th. Major equipment packages have started to arrive at site and first gold pour is projected for mid-2023.
Fortuna is advancing its organizational infrastructure in Côte d’Ivoire to prepare for the start of operations at Séguéla, as well as establishing a regional office to service both Séguéla and the Yaramoko Mine.
Yaramoko Mine, Burkina Faso: Gold production on target to meet the upper range of annual guidance
The Yaramoko Mine produced 24,553 ounces of gold in the second quarter of 2022 with an average gold head grade of 5.42 g/t, which is in line with the mining sequence and Mineral Reserve estimate. Gold production for the first six months of 2022 totaled 52,788 ounces.
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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