SilverCrest Mines Inc. (NYSE MKT:SVLC) (TSX:SVL) is pleased to provide an update on activities for the expansion of the Santa Elena Mine in Sonora, Mexico. The Santa Elena Mine expansion is on budget (+/-5%) with initial start up of the new 3000 tpd operation anticipated later this month. The most significant activities are outlined below. For additional information and to view photos and videos, please visit the Company’s website at www.silvercrestmines.com.
N. Eric Fier, President and COO stated; “We are pleased with the final stages of the Santa Elena Expansion Plan which will significantly increase our precious metal production starting in mid-2014. Previous delay in delivery of the ball mill has pushed back our original Q1 start up to early Q2 while remaining on budget. The start up of the mill this month will be a major milestone for SilverCrest. The Company continues to grow as a low cost junior operator transitioning into a successful mid-tier precious metal producer. As part of a revised start up schedule we have elected to discontinue open pit operations and accelerate underground operations. These operational changes may have some impact on Q2 production but no change to the previously announced 2014 corporate production guidance of 3.3 to 3.6 million ounces AgEq (60:1).”
Santa Elena Expansion Plan
- New CCD/Merrill Crowe processing plant is 96% complete with final
electrical and piping work being completed and tested over the next
- 80% of the major equipment has been tested and passed for initial
start up. The remaining 20% will be tested during start up.
- FLSmidth, the primary equipment supplier, has representatives on site
supervising final work in anticipation of mill commissioning over the
next 3 months.
- Ore feed during the mill commissioning period will come from a blend
of high grade underground ore and the upper part of the leach pad
which represents the last 6 months of high grade open pit production
that has only received partial leaching.
- As planned with mill start up, no further ore will be loaded on the
leach pad but gold and silver production will continue at a
diminishing rate from the pad until at least August, 2014.
- As part of the previously announced transition to underground mining,
open pit operations have ceased as of April 4, 2014 which is
approximately 3 months ahead of original schedule. Operational
constraints presented by the mine contractor amongst other factors
have triggered this early cessation of pit operations. Remaining open
pit reserves are readily accessible from the 700m and 675m underground
planned levels and the Company is scheduling retrieval of these
reserves at a later date. Total reserves are unaffected by cessation
of the pit operations.
Underground mining and development has been accelerated providing
access to high grade ore feed to the mill over the next 3 months to
replace ore that was expected from planned open pit production. From
May through July (mill commissioning period), underground ore feed to
the mill will come from increased ore development at a rate of 20,000
to 25,000 tonnes per month (previously 5,000 tpm). Underground ore
will be blended with leach pad ore to achieve nameplate mill capacity
of 3,000 tpd by July 2014. Key underground personnel are in place to
execute the accelerated underground operations.
- Underground equipment for owner operated production is expected to
arrive on site in early May and initial production stoping is
scheduled for late June or early July 2014.
- Decline access work continues with approximately 2,400 metres of the
main ramp driven to date (570m level). The 575m level is planned for
1st stope production.
Despite the operational changes in mine schedule of early pit closure and accelerated underground operations, the Company maintains previously announced 2014 corporate production guidance of 3.3 to 3.6 million ounces AgEq (60:1) will be unchanged.
The Qualified Person under National Instrument (NI 43-101) Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects for this News Release is N. Eric Fier, CPG, P.Eng, and Chief Operating Officer for SilverCrest Mines Inc., who has reviewed and approved its contents.
SilverCrest Mines Inc. is a Canadian precious metals producer headquartered in Vancouver, BC. SilverCrest’s flagship property is the 100%-owned Santa Elena Mine, located 150 km northeast of Hermosillo, near Banamichi in the State of Sonora, Mexico. The mine is a high-grade, epithermal silver and gold producer, with an estimated life of mine of 8 years and operating cash costs of $11 per ounce of silver equivalent (55:1 Ag:Au) for the open pit heap leach and underground mine. SilverCrest anticipates that the new 3,000 tonnes per day conventional mill facility at the Santa Elena Mine should recover an average annual rate of 1.5 million ounces of silver and 32,800 ounces of gold over the current reserve. Major expansion and construction of the 3,000 tonnes per day conventional mill facility is nearing completion and is expected to significantly increase metals production at the Santa Elena Mine (open pit and underground) in 2014 and beyond. Exploration programs continue to make new discoveries at Santa Elena and also have rapidly advanced the definition of a large polymetallic deposit at the La Joya property in Durango State, Mexico.
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