The first full year of production from San Bartolome mine in Bolivia and the imminent start-up of the Palmarejo gold/silver mine in Mexico this month will propel Coeur d'Alene Mines' silver production growth by 66% to 20 million ounces with an 85% increase in gold production to 85,000 ounces this year.
Meanwhile, Coeur President and CEO Dennis Wheeler suggested that if gold hits $1,000 per ounce, it could propel silver prices to $16/oz.
San Bartolome is expected to produce 9 million ounces at an average cash operating cost of $6.50 per ounce. Palmarejo is expected to produce 5.3 million ounces of silver and 72,000 ounces of gold this year.
The company reported record year-end silver reserves of 248 million ounces of silver, a 15% increase, and 2.3 million ounces of gold for a 54% increase. Measured and indicated mineral resources include an additional 236 million ounces of silver.
Coeur plans an exploration investment of $17.6 million with the objectives of developing new mineral reserves at the Cerro Bayo mine to supports its re-start and new mine life, as well as developing new mineral resources and reserves at the Martha mine and expand its mine life.
For 2008, Coeur reported a net loss of $8,000 or negative 1-cent per share, compared to a net profit of nearly $44 million or 15-cents per share reported for 2007. For the fourth-quarter 2008, Coeur reported a net income of nearly $4.3 million or 1-cent per share, down from $14.1 million or 5-cents per page for the fourth-quarter 2008.