Canada-based Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. said Thursday its silver production in the last year rose 31 percent, the fifth consecutive yearly production increase.

The Latin America-focused company produced 2.5 million ounces of silver and 7,000 ounces of gold last year, a 174 percent increase over its 2010 level. The comany also made smaller gains in its lead and zinc production, increasing by eight and 10 percent, respectively, to 19.7 million and 23.4 million ounces.

In 2010 the company produced 1.9 million ounces of silver.

(Last year) was marked by two milestones for the company, our NYSE listing on Sept. 19, and the start of commercial operations on Sept. 1 at our San Jose Mine in Mexico, said Jorge Ganoza, President and CEO of Fortuna.

The company's mine in Mexico came on line after 15 months of construction; Fortuna plans to expand its facility's capacity to 1,500 metric tons per day in 2012.

This expansion will continue fueling our low cost annual silver production growth into 2012 and 2013, Ganoza said.

The company's production totals are expected to continue climbing into 2012. The company expects to produce this year 3.7 million ounces of silver and 17,400 ounces of gold.

In afternoon trading, the price of gold continued its bullish climb, increasing by $23 to $1,726. Silver was also on the rise, up by 38 cents, the metal traded for $33.51.

Fortuna's stock was also up Thursday by 2.11 percent trading at $6.68.