Minera Andes, www.minandes.com – the Argentina-focused mineral exploration firm currently targeting gold, silver and copper, reported excellent production results today for the San José mine, covering Q4 2010 and the entire year (ended, Dec. 2010):
• Q4 – 1,871,440 oz silver and 26,141 oz gold
• 2010 – 5,323,842 oz silver and 84,303 oz gold
The San José mine is very close geographically to the $3.6B Cerro Negro project being run by industry giant Goldcorp and MNEAF has a 49% working interest in the mine owner (via wholly-owned subsidiary Minera Andes S.A.), Minera Santa Cruz SA (a joint venture, of which the other 51% is owned by Hochschild Mining plc subsidiary Hochschild Mining Argentina).
Thus a full 49% of the output from the mine is attributable to the Company and with Q4 production totals in silver and gold coming in a full 33% and 19% ahead of Q3 respectively, this is very good news indeed for MNEAF shareholders.
Silver production in Q4 was up a whopping 81% over the same period in 2009, with gold clocking in 31% higher.
COO of MNEAF, James K. Duff, attributes the increase in gold/silver production to improved mill throughput, higher grades of silver than in Q3 and an overall upswing in metallurgical recoveries, noting that the mill is now in near continuous full capacity operation.
Duff explained that mill throughput was enhanced by the creation of multiple new production areas within the mine and that the higher grade of silver comes from a new area, combined with incremental output from the Merrill Crowe circuit.
As for sales of silver and gold, they were also up sharply:
• Q3 2010 compared to Q4 2010 – Up 57% and 35% respectively due mostly to increased ore output and reduced inventory
• Q4 2010 to Q4 2009 – Up 94% and 40% respectively due to the aforementioned increases in mill throughput, grade quality and metallurgical recovery rates
Full details of the report are available at the Company’s website and Q4 production cost data is anticipated at the end of March this year, coinciding with the issuance of Q4 financial results.
With two other major assets under the Company’s belt, including 100% ownership of the Los Azules copper deposit (10.3B lbs. copper plus another 2.2B indicated) and 100% ownership of a group of exploration properties also in close proximity to Goldcorp’s Cerro Negro project, zero bank debt and $10M cash on hand at the end of Dec. 2010, MNEAF is extremely well positioned.