Sierra Metals Inc. (SMT.TO) (SMT.TO) (NYSE AMERICAN:SMTS) (“Sierra Metals” or “the Company”) is pleased to report third quarter 2019 production results featuring the highest level of quarterly consolidated equivalent metal production.
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Results are from Sierra Metals’ three underground mines in Latin America: The Yauricocha polymetallic mine in Peru, and the Bolivar copper and Cusi silver Mines in Mexico.
Third Quarter 2019 Production Highlights
Silver production of 1.0 million ounces; a 34% increase from Q3 2018
Copper production of 11.1 million pounds; a 34% increase from Q3 2018
Zinc production of 22.5 million pounds; an 8% increase from Q3 2018
Lead production of 10.5 million pounds; a 65% increase from Q3 2018
Gold production of 3,490 ounces; an 83% increase from Q3 2018
Copper equivalent production of 32.3 million pounds; a 37% increase from Q3 2018
Record quarterly ore throughput and metal production at the Yauricocha Mine in Peru and the Bolivar Mine in Mexico
The Company achieved record quarterly consolidated equivalent metal production and ore throughput, as well as record quarterly ore throughput and equivalent metal production from the Yauricocha and Bolivar Mines. The Company has continued to build on its successful plant expansions, and mine production increases in Mexico over the last three quarters. This has resulted in record quarterly metal production, as the Company is approaching its 2019 target of 4,250 tonnes per day (“TPD”) at Bolivar and 1,200 TPD at Cusi. Consolidated production of silver increased 34% to 1.0 million ounces, copper increased by 34% to 11.1 million pounds, lead increased 65% to 10.5 million pounds, zinc increased 8% to 22.5 million pounds, and gold increased 83% to 3,490 ounces compared to Q3 2018.
Igor Gonzales, President and CEO of Sierra Metals commented: “The Company continues to strengthen its performance in 2019 achieving record quarterly consolidated equivalent metal production in the third quarter. This includes continued successful recovery and making up for lost production at Yauricocha from the illegal strike, as well as record quarterly ore throughput and metal production at both the Yauricocha and Bolivar Mines. At the Cusi Mine, which accounts for approximately only 5% of Company revenue, we unfortunately encountered and dealt with subsidence issues, which delayed development and access to higher-grade ore, but we now have new contractors on-site, which will allow us to see higher grade material reach the mill in November. Additionally, completion of a new crushing circuit will allow for improved tonnage throughput and recoveries at the mill. Aside from the temporary setback at Cusi, we continued to successfully ramp up our mine and mill expansion plans while reaping the benefits of operational improvement programs. Going forward we expect to deliver on our annual guidance at Yauricocha at the same time continuing to ramp up and further improve ore throughput and tonnage at our Mexican operations.”
Yauricocha Mine, Peru
The Yauricocha Mine processed a quarterly record of 307,239 tonnes during Q3 2019, representing an 8% increase compared to Q3 2018. Daily ore throughput averaged 3,511 TPD during the quarter, as efforts continue to ensure that the 24 days of production lost during the illegal strike action at Yauricocha during April and May, will not affect the annual production guidance for the mine.
The 8% increase in throughput realized at the mine during Q3 2019, as well as significantly higher head grades for all metals, except gold, and higher recoveries for all metals, except zinc, resulted in a 33% increase in zinc equivalent metal production compared to Q3 2018. The higher silver and lead head grades and silver and lead production realized during Q3 2019 was the result of increased production from the cuerpos chicos that contained higher silver and lead head grades during the quarter. Higher copper head grades resulted from the inclusion of certain copper-enriched zones at Esperanza, polymetallic ore from the Central Mine Zone, and a small inclusion of polymetallic ore from the cuerpos chicos.
Bolivar Mine, Mexico
The Bolivar Mine processed a quarterly record of 331,818 tonnes in Q3 2019, representing a 46% increase over Q3 2018. The average daily ore throughput realized during the quarter was approximately 3,800 TPD, and the Company expects to reach 4,250 TPD during Q4 2019. The 46% increase in throughput, and higher silver and gold head grades, and higher copper and silver recoveries resulted in a 55% increase in copper equivalent pounds produced during Q3 2019 compared to Q3 2018. This increase was achieved despite a 13% decrease in copper head grades and 9% decrease in gold recoveries. However, the Company expects copper head grades to increase during Q4 2019, as more ore is sourced from Bolivar West. In Q3 2019, copper production increased by 31% to 5,115,000 pounds, silver production increased 84% to 173,000 ounces, and gold production increased 127% to 2,073 ounces compared to Q3 2018.