RNS Number : 5177U
Fresnillo PLC
25 October 2017
 

                                                                                                        Fresnillo plc

21 Upper Brook Street

London W1K 7PY

United Kingdom

www.fresnilloplc.com

 

25 October 2017

 

Third Quarter Production Report

for the three months ended 30 September 2017

Overview

 

·     Quarterly silver production of 14.6 moz (including Silverstream), up 24.1% vs. 3Q16 (11.8 moz) primarily due to the start of operations at San Julián phase II and ramp up of phase I

 

·       Year to date (YTD) silver production of 42.7 moz (including Silverstream), up 15.3% vs. YTD16 (37.0 moz), due to the contribution from the new San Julián mine (phase I and II), increased volume of ore processed at Fresnillo and higher ore grade at Ciénega

 

·     Quarterly gold production of 233 koz, up 6.1% vs. 3Q16 (220 koz) due to the contribution from San Julián, a reduction in gold inventories and increased volume of ore deposited at Herradura

 

·       YTD gold production of 679 koz, up 1.7% vs. YTD16 (667 koz) due to the contribution of San Julián partly offset by the lower speed of recovery at Noche Buena and lower ore grades at Herradura and Saucito

 

·    Ore processing nameplate capacity at San Julián phase II achieved during its first quarter of operations (3Q17)

 

·       Outlook unchanged: on track to achieve 2017 production guidance of 58-61 moz silver (including Silverstream) and 870-900 koz gold

 

Octavio Alvídrez, Chief Executive Officer, said:

"I am pleased to report a good operating performance this quarter.

"In particular, the positive contribution from the new San Julián mine has driven the expected rise in silver production. San Julián Phase II was commissioned on time and on budget, and the project reached nameplate capacity as expected during the quarter, again highlighting our ability to bring new mining projects to fruition. We continue to implement our turnaround plan at the Fresnillo mine and now expect an increase in silver production for the year of between seven and eight per cent.

 "The combination of a strong performance from San Julián and continued decrease in inventories at Herradura also drove a rise in gold production and more than offset lower recoveries and grades at Noche Buena and Ciénega respectively.

"We remain on track to meet our gold and silver production targets for 2017.

"Construction of our other near term growth projects, the pyrites plant in the Fresnillo district and the second dynamic leaching plant at Herradura are on schedule, on budget and in line to be commissioned next year as planned. Both will make a meaningful contribution to production growth in 2018."

 

Total Production

 

 

3Q 17

3Q 16

% change

2Q 17

YTD 17

YTD 16

% change

Silver (koz)

13,529

10,607

27.5

13,328

39,281

33,431

17.5

Silverstream  (koz)

1,084

1,168

-7.2

1,188

3,376

3,556

-5.1

Total Silver  (koz)

14,613

11,775

24.1

14,515

42,657

36,987

15.3

Gold (oz)

233,311

219,840

6.1

223,479

679,081

667,409

1.7

Lead (t)

12,472

12,473

-0.0

11,385

35,318

35,141

0.5

Zinc (t)

17,688

14,476

22.2

14,919

46,413

39,856

16.5

 

Silver

Quarterly silver production (including Silverstream) increased 24.1% compared to the same period in 2016 mainly as a result of the successful start-up of operations at San Julián (phase II) and San Julián (phase I) operating at full capacity compared to 3Q16, when this project began operating. This was partly offset by the lower contribution from the Silverstream due to the lower silver ore grade and recovery rate at Sabinas.

Year to date silver production (including Silverstream) increased 15.3% vs. YTD16 as a result of the start of operations at San Julián (phase I and II), higher volume of ore processed at Fresnillo due to the increased access to ore bodies, and higher silver ore grade at Ciénega. These factors were partly offset by the planned for lower ore grade at Saucito and a lower contribution of the Silverstream due to the lower ore grade at Sabinas. 

Quarterly silver production slightly increased when compared to 2Q17 (+1.5%) due to the start-up of San Julián Phase II. This was partly offset by the lower ore grade and lower volume of ore processed at Fresnillo resulting from the limited access to certain areas due to delays in development activities, and lower ore grade at Saucito.

Gold

Quarterly gold production increased 6.1% over 3Q16 due to the contribution from the San Julián (phase I) and the additional volume recovered from the inventory in the leaching pads at Herradura, which more than offset the overall lower speed of recovery at Noche Buena and, to a lesser extent, lower ore grades at Ciénega and Saucito.

YTD17 gold production slightly increased vs. YTD16 due to the contribution of San Julián (phase I) which was partly offset by the lower speed of recovery at Noche Buena and lower ore grades at Herradura and Saucito.

Quarterly gold production increased 4.4% when compared to 2Q17 as a result of a higher ore grade from the Valles area at Herradura, increased volume of ore processed at San Julián (phase I), and higher ore grades, recovery rates and ore milled at Saucito. These more than offset the lower overall speed of recovery at Noche Buena and lower ore grades at Ciénega.

By-products

Quarterly by-product lead production increased when compared to 2Q17 due to the start of operations at San Julián Phase II which compensated for the lower ore grades and recovery rates at Ciénega and Saucito. Quarterly and year to date by-product lead production remained at similar levels when compared to the same periods last year.

Quarterly by-product zinc production increased when compared to 3Q16 as a result of the San Julián (phase II) contribution. Year to date by-product zinc production increased over YTD16 due to the higher ore grade at Fresnillo and the production of San Julián (phase II).

Quarterly zinc production increased 18.6% vs. 2Q17 as a result of the start of operations at San Julián (phase II) and higher recovery rate and ore milled at Saucito which more than compensated for the lower ore grades and the recovery rates at Ciénega.

 

Fresnillo mine production

 

 

3Q 17

3Q 16

% change

2Q 17

YTD 17

YTD 16

% change

Ore Processed (t)

596,544

587,492

1.5

645,479

1,855,036

1,777,129

4.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silver (koz)

3,516

3,732

-5.8

4,491

12,446

12,017

3.6

Gold  (oz)

8,819

11,111

-20.6

9,403

29,547

31,742

-6.9

Lead (t)

4,905

6,017

-18.5

4,982

15,058

15,560

-3.2

Zinc (t)

7,368

7,228

1.9

7,927

22,002

18,180

21.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ore Grades

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silver (g/t)

202

217

-6.9

235

227

228

-0.4

Gold (g/t)

0.61

0.77

-20.9

0.59

0.65

0.72

-10.6

Lead (%)

0.91

1.13

-20.0

0.86

0.90

0.97

-7.8

Zinc (%)

1.70

1.72

-0.7

1.69

1.66

1.48

11.9

 

Quarterly silver production decreased vs. 3Q16. This was due to the lower ore grade resulting from the temporary limited access to higher ore grade areas following delays in development and mining equipment outtages which impeded progress at the long drilling areas of San Carlos and San Alberto. Additionally, increased dilution during the quarter contributed to the lower silver ore grade. These adverse effects were mitigated by a slight increase in the volume of ore processed.

 

Year to date silver production increased vs. YTD16 due to higher volumes of ore processed as a result of the progress made towards operating at full capacity.

 

When compared to the previous quarter, 3Q17 silver production decreased -21.7% primarily due to the lower ore grade (-14.0%) and to a lesser extent, a lower volume of ore processed (-7.6%). The lower grade was a result of the temporary limited access to high grade veins at the San Alberto and San Carlos areas due to delays in development as mentioned above.

 

The development rate for the year has been approximately 3,500 metres per month reaching a maximum of 3,800 metres per month. Lower productivity from on site contracting personnel and drilling equipment mechanical failures prevented us from increasing the development rate as planned. However, the Company is in the process of hiring a new contractor and expects to increase the development rate to levels above 4,000 metres per month next year.

 

The silver ore grade for 2017 is expected to be within the range of 220-225 g/t and the increase in silver production for the full year vs. 2016 to be 7-8%.

 

Quarterly and year to date by-product gold production decreased when compared to the corresponding periods in 2016 as a result of the lower ore grades, however, this was partially offset by the higher volume of ore processed. When compared to the previous quarter, by-product gold production decreased 6.2% as a result of the lower volume of ore processed and recovery rate. This was partly offset by the higher ore grade.

  

Quarterly and year to date by-product lead production decreased when compared to the same period in 2016 as a result of lower ore grades which was partly offset by the higher volume of ore processed.

 

Year to date by-product zinc production increased vs. YTD16 as a result of the higher ore grade, increased volume of ore processed and higher recovery rate. However, quarterly by-product zinc production decreased -7.0% when compared to 2Q17 as a result of lower volume of ore processed.

 

Saucito mine production

 

 

3Q 17

3Q 16

% change

2Q 17

YTD 17

YTD 16

% change

Ore Processed (t)

693,269

642,040

8.0

667,456

2,031,639

1,925,832

5.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silver (koz)

5,016

4,903

2.3

5,674

15,837

16,610

-4.7

Gold (oz)

18,490

19,216

-3.8

15,896

52,349

61,039

-14.2

Lead (t)

4,368

5,133

-14.9

4,688

13,810

15,132

-8.7

Zinc (t)

5,357

5,324

0.6

4,923

15,418

16,118

-4.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ore Grades

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silver (g/t)

264

289

-8.9

306

283

308

-8.3

Gold (g/t)

1.12

1.31

-14.5

1.05

1.09

1.33

-17.9

Lead (%)

0.76

0.94

-19.3

0.81

0.81

0.90

-10.1

Zinc (%)

1.26

1.41

-10.7

1.26

1.26

1.42

-11.3

 

 

Quarterly silver production increased slightly vs. 3Q16 as a result of a higher volume of ore processed following the installation of the vibrating screens at Saucito I and II, and additional ore mined from development areas. A higher recovery rate as a result of the efficiency in the mineral grading fed to the plants, also contributed to the rise in silver production. This was partly offset by: i) the expected lower ore grade compared to the higher grade development ore from the West and Central areas at the Jarillas vein in 2016; ii) the lower ore grade in the Jarillas West area due to the restricted access to high grade sectors resulting from the anchoring activities to avoid rock instability; and iii) an increase in dilution.

 

Year to date and quarterly silver production decreased vs. YTD16 and 2Q17 as a result of the expected lower ore grade, however this was partly offset by the higher volume of ore processed.

 

Quarterly and year to date by-product gold production decreased when compared to the corresponding periods in 2016 due to expected lower ore grades which were partly offset by the higher volume of ore processed. Quarterly by-product gold production increased 16.3% vs. 2Q17 due to the higher ore grade, recovery rates and volume of ore processed.

 

Year to date and quarterly by-product lead production decreased when compared to the same periods of 2016 and 2Q17 mainly as a result of the lower ore grade and recovery rate. These factors were partially mitigated by the higher ore processed.

 

Year to date by-product zinc production decreased vs. YTD16 as a result of the lower ore grade which was partly offset by the higher ore processed and recovery rate. However, quarterly by-product zinc production increased 8.8% vs. 2Q17 due to a higher recovery rate and ore processed.

 

 

Ciénega mine production

 

 

3Q 17

3Q 16

% change

2Q 17

YTD 17

YTD 16

% change

Ore Processed (t)

326,381

305,474

6.8

322,760

963,062

947,523

1.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold  (oz)

17,395

18,372

-5.3

18,904

53,753

55,268

-2.7

Silver (koz)

1,335

1,320

1.1

1,458

4,122

3,833

7.5

Lead (t)

1,537

1,323

16.2

1,715

4,787

4,448

7.6

Zinc (t)

1,682

1,925

-12.6

2,070

5,711

5,558

2.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ore Grades

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold (g/t)

1.75

1.94

-9.9

1.89

1.84

1.88

-1.9

Silver (g/t)

148

154

-3.6

161

156

144

8.9

Lead (%)

0.72

0.65

10.6

0.78

0.76

0.68

11.1

Zinc (%)

0.95

1.04

-9.3

1.10

1.04

1.01

2.7

 

Quarterly and year to date gold production decreased when compared to the same periods last year primarily as a result of the depletion of higher grade gold veins at Ciénega. However, this was mitigated by a higher volume of ore processed from the East and West areas and the increase in equipment availability resulting from efficiencies achieved in the maintenance programme, reducing the number of unproductive hours.

Similarly, quarterly gold production decreased 8.0% vs. 2Q17 as a result of expected lower ore grade and to a lesser extent, lower recovery rate. These factors were partly offset by the slightly higher volume of ore processed.

Year to date silver production increased over YTD16 as a result of the higher ore grade at the Taspana and San Ramón areas and, to a lesser extent, a higher volume of ore processed. This was partly offset by a lower recovery rate. Quarterly silver production remained at similar levels when compared to 3Q16.

Quarterly silver production decreased 8.4% vs. 2Q17 as a result of the expected lower ore grade and, to a lesser extent, lower recovery rate.

Quarterly and year to date by-product lead production increased over the same periods of 2016 as a result of higher ore grades and volume of ore processed. These more than compensated for the lower recovery rate.

Quarterly by-product lead production decreased 10.4% over 2Q17 due to a lower ore grade and lower recovery rate.  

Quarterly by-product zinc production decreased vs. 3Q16 as a result of a lower recovery rate and ore grade. Year to date by-product zinc production slightly increased over YTD16 due to higher ore grade and volume of ore processed.

Quarterly by-product zinc production decreased -18.7% vs. 2Q17 as a result of a lower ore grade and recovery rate.

 

Herradura total mine production

 

 

3Q 17

3Q 16

% change

2Q 17

YTD 17

YTD 16

% change

Ore Processed (t)

6,337,573

6,208,336

2.1

6,551,791

19,653,734

18,832,895

4.4

Total Volume Hauled (t)

33,433,070

28,255,782

18.3

31,063,542

95,404,767

89,019,720

7.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold (oz)

131,738

123,258

6.9

116,267

355,747

371,817

-4.3

Silver (koz)

157

161

-2.5

104

380

464

-18.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ore Grades

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold (g/t)

0.75

0.78

-3.9

0.66

0.68

0.72

-5.5

Silver (g/t)

1.20

1.27

-5.4

0.87

1.01

1.16

-13.6

 

Quarterly gold production increased vs. 3Q16 as a result of the larger reduction in gold inventories at the leaching pads compared to the reduction in inventory level in 3Q16 and, to a lesser extent, increased volumes of ore processed. This was offset by the lower ore grade.

Year to date gold production decreased when compared to the same period of 2016 as a result of the lower ore grade at Herradura and the expected smaller decrease in gold inventories at the leaching pads compared to the larger reduction in inventory levels during 2016. However, these factors were partly mitigated by the higher volume of ore processed.

Quarterly gold production increased 13.3% vs. 2Q17 as higher ore grade from the Valles area was processed and to a lesser extent, higher volumes recovered due to increased irrigation of new mineral layers deposited on the leaching pads. These factors were partly offset by the lower volumes of ore processed.

Inventory levels are expected to continue decreasing at Herradura in 4Q17, albeit at a lower pace.

 

Noche Buena total mine production

 

 

3Q 17

3Q 16

% change

2Q 17

YTD 17

YTD 16

% change

Ore Processed (t)

4,362,684

4,464,960

-2.3

4,399,136

13,375,504

13,051,182

2.5

Total Volume Hauled (t)

20,918,713

20,609,275

1.5

22,436,979

64,274,348

60,901,692

5.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold (oz)

33,409

40,850

-18.2

42,097

123,184

140,511

-12.3

Silver (koz)

6

6

0.0

7

20

22

-9.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ore Grades

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold (g/t)

0.53

0.53

-1.6

0.51

0.51

0.51

1.3

Silver (g/t)

0.07

0.10

-25.9

0.09

0.08

0.11

-19.7

 

Quarterly gold production decreased vs. 3Q16 as a result of the lower overall speed of recovery, and to a lesser extent, lower volumes of ore processed (-2.3%). Similarly, year to date gold production decreased vs. YTD16 as a result of a lower overall speed of recovery. This was partially offset by slightly higher volumes of ore processed and a higher ore grade.

Quarterly gold production decreased -20.6% vs. 2Q17 mainly as a result of a lower overall speed of recovery which was partly offset by a higher ore grade.

Gold production at Noche Buena in 4Q17 is expected to be similar to 3Q17.

 

San Julián mine production

 

 

3Q 17

3Q 16

% change

2Q 17

YTD 17

YTD 16

% change

Ore Processed Phase I  Veins (t)

333,674

121,833

174.0

308,342

948,097

121,833

678.4

Ore Processed Phase II  JM (t)

448,150

-

N/A

-

-

-

N/A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold (oz)

23,460

7,032

233.6

20,912

63,534

7,032

803.5

Silver (koz)

3,499

484

621.4

1,592

4,473

485

822.3

Lead (t)

1,661

-

N/A

-

-

-

N/A

Zinc (t)

3,282

-

N/A

-

-

-

N/A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ore Grades Phase I Veins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold (g/t)

2.12

1.96

7.9

2.19

2.16

1.96

10.1

Silver (g/t)

148.09

150.53

-1.6

171.58

158.50

150.53

5.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ore Grades Phase II JM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold (g/t)

0.13

-

N/A

-

-

-

N/A

Silver (g/t)

169.26

-

N/A

-

-

-

N/A

Lead (%)

0.52

-

N/A

-

-

-

N/A

Zinc (%)

1.13

-

N/A

-

-

-

N/A

 

Quarterly gold production at San Julián (phase I) increased over 3Q16 due to the mine operating at full capacity in 2017. Similarly, year to date gold production increased vs. YTD16 reflecting the first full year of operations.

Quarterly gold production increased 12.2% vs. 2Q17 as a result of higher volumes of ore processed and higher recovery rate due to the ramp up of operations.

Silver production for 3Q17 increased when compared to the same period 2016 as a result of higher volumes of ore processed and recovery rate due to the start of operations last year.

Similarly, year to date silver production increased when compared to YTD16 reflecting the start and ramp up of both phases.

Quarterly silver production increased vs. 2Q17 as a result of the start of operations of San Julián (phase II).

Silver production is expected to be around 10 moz and gold production c. 80 koz for the full year in line with expectations given commercial production began mid-July.

 

Update on development projects

 

Pyrites Plant

Construction of the pyrites plant in the Fresnillo district remains on track and on budget. The plant is expected to improve overall recoveries of both gold and silver by processing historical and ongoing tailings from the Fresnillo and Saucito mines.

At full capacity, the US$155 million project is expected to contribute an annual production of c. 3.5 moz of silver and c. 13 koz of gold once the plant is commissioned in 1H18 and reaches full capacity.

 

Second Dynamic Leaching Plant

Construction of the second line of the dynamic leaching plant at Herradura is on track and on budget. The project will enable sulphides occurring deeper in the pit to be processed more efficiently. Assembly of the milling area and the installation of the mills are ongoing and building of the hydraulic units is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The construction of this US$110 million project will continue throughout 2017 with commissioning expected in 2018, and will extend the life of Herradura's mine to 12 years with an average life of mine annual gold production of 390 koz. 

 

Update on exploration

In 3Q17, 145,000 metres of drilling were completed at our operating mines as part of direct mine development and conversion of resources into reserves. Additionally 100,000 metres of exploration drilling were carried out at other projects. The cumulative drilling for the period from January to September 2017 at our operating mines and exploration projects was 378,000 and 300,000 metres respectively. Presently 20 areas are being drilled and interesting results extending ore shoots in known and new structures were obtained in the Fresnillo and San Julián districts. At Candameña and Guanajuato, interesting gold-silver results were obtained. Two prospects are in drilling in Peru with infill drilling at Pilarica. In addition, prospecting teams continue evaluating selected areas of the favourable silver-gold belts in Mexico, Peru, Chile and Argentina.

 

Safety Performance

We are pleased to report that there were no fatal accidents at our operations during the third quarter of 2017. Safety remains our absolute priority and we continue to reinforce our safety measures in order to fulfil our zero fatalities commitment on an ongoing basis.   

 

There will be a conference call for analysts and investors on Wednesday 25th October at 9:00am (London time). The dial in details are as follows:

 

UK: +44 (0) 808 109 0700

USA: +1 866 966 5335

Mexico: +1 866 966 8830   

All other locations: +44 (0) 20 3003 2666

Participant password: Fresnillo

 

A replay of the call will also be available for seven days after the event. The replay can be accessed via the following details:

 

Replay dial-in number: +44 (0) 208 196 1998 

Replay PIN: 4389876#

 

 

For further information, please visit our website www.fresnilloplc.com or contact:

 

Fresnillo plc           

London Office                                  

Gabriela Mayor, Head of Investor Relations

Patrick Chambers

 

Tel: +44 (0)20 7399 2470

Mexico City Office

Ana Belem Zárate

Tel: +52 55 52 79 3206

 

Powerscourt

Peter Ogden

 

 

Tel: +44 (0)20 7250 1446

 

                                              

About Fresnillo plc

Fresnillo plc is the world's largest primary silver producer and Mexico's largest gold producer, listed on the London and Mexican Stock Exchanges under the symbol FRES.

Fresnillo plc has seven operating mines, all of them in Mexico - Fresnillo, Saucito, Ciénega (including the San Ramón satellite mine), Herradura, Soledad-Dipolos1, Noche Buena and San Julián (phase I and II), two development projects - the Pyrites plant, and second line of DLP at Herradura, and four advanced exploration projects - Orisyvo, Juanicipio, Las Casas Rosario & Cluster Cebollitas and Centauro Deep, as well as a number of other long term exploration prospects. In total, Fresnillo plc has mining concessions covering approximately 1.8 million hectares in Mexico.

Fresnillo plc has a strong and long tradition of mining, a proven track record of mine development, reserve replacement, and production costs in the lowest quartile of the cost curve for silver.

Fresnillo plc's goal is to maintain the Group's position as the world's largest primary silver company, producing 65 million ounces of silver per year by 2018, having already surpassed the gold target of 750,000 ounces.

1 Operations at Soledad-Dipolos are currently suspended.

 

Forward Looking Statements

Information contained in this announcement may include 'forward-looking statements'. All statements other than statements of historical facts included herein, including, without limitation, those regarding the Fresnillo Group's intentions, beliefs or current expectations concerning, amongst other things, the Fresnillo Group's results of operations, financial position, liquidity, prospects, growth, strategies and the silver and gold industries are forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to future events and circumstances. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and the actual results of the Fresnillo Group's operations, financial position and liquidity, and the development of the markets and the industry in which the Fresnillo Group operates, may differ materially from those described in, or suggested by, the forward-looking statements contained in this document. In addition, even if the results of operations, financial position and liquidity, and the development of the markets and the industry in which the Fresnillo Group operates are consistent with the forward-looking statements contained in this document, those results or developments may not be indicative of results or developments in subsequent periods. A number of factors could cause results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements including, without limitation, general economic and business conditions, industry trends, competition, commodity prices, changes in regulation, currency fluctuations (including the US dollar and Mexican Peso exchanges rates), the Fresnillo Group's ability to recover its reserves or develop new reserves, including its ability to convert its resources into reserves and its mineral potential into resources or reserves, changes in its business strategy and political and economic uncertainty.

 

LEI: 549300JXWH1UV5J0XV81

 

 

 


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