Vancouver, BC, Canada – First Majestic Silver Corp. (“First Majestic” or the “Company”) announces that total production in the first quarter of 2021 from the Company’s three producing operations in Mexico, the San Dimas Silver/Gold Mine, the Santa Elena Silver/Gold Mine and the La Encantada Silver Mine, reached 4.5 million silver equivalent ounces consisting of 2.9 million ounces of silver and 23,873 ounces of gold. The Company’s financial results for the first quarter of 2021 are scheduled to be released on Thursday, May 6, 2021.
FIRST QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
- Total production: The Company produced 4.5 million silver equivalent ounces consisting of 2.9 million ounces of silver and 23,873 ounces of gold, representing a decrease of 16% and 9%, respectively, compared to the Company’s record setting production in the previous quarter.
- LNG power starts on-schedule: The Liquid Natural Gas (“LNG”) facility at Santa Elena successfully completed all commissioning activities during the quarter. At quarter end, the LNG power plant was supplying approximately 85% of power requirements to the Santa Elena operation.
- Ermitaño activities advance: Underground development activities at the Ermitaño project near Santa Elena advanced another 1,453 metres during the quarter. The Company plans to start test stope mining in June and expects to extract between 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes of material over the next six months. On surface, initial construction activities commenced for the access road which will connect the Santa Elena processing plant to the Ermitaño portal area.
- Strong underground production at Santa Elena: Underground ore production and plant throughput rates at Santa Elena increased throughout the quarter and in the month of March exceeded budgeted levels for the first time in over a year. The strong production was achieved following multiple improvement initiatives enacted at the mine over the last nine months. In the month of March, underground mining produced 55,266 tonnes of ore, or approximately 1,783 tonnes per day, accounting for 41% of Santa Elena’s total underground production in the entire quarter.
- 19 drill rigs active: The Company completed a total of 39,552 metres in exploration drilling, or approximately 21% of the 2021 exploration budget, across the Company’s mines and projects during the quarter. At the end of the first quarter, a total of 19 exploration drill rigs were active consisting of 10 rigs at San Dimas, seven rigs at Santa Elena and two rigs at La Encantada.
- Accretive M&A transaction: As previously announced in a news release on March 12th, the Company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Jerritt Canyon Mine located in Nevada, USA from Sprott Mining. The transaction is expected to close by the end of April, subject to meeting all applicable closing conditions.
“After a record-setting previous quarter, silver production in the first quarter came in slightly below budget primarily due to lower average silver grades and an extreme cold weather event in the month of February which reduced milling rates at La Encantada,” said Keith Neumeyer, President & CEO. “While the quarter was impacted by some uncontrollable factors, site operations made some significant achievements during the quarter. At Santa Elena, underground ore production reached the highest quarterly rate in over a year following numerous operational improvements over the past nine months and resulted in an 8% increase in silver production compared to the previous quarter. In addition, Santa Elena’s new 12.4MW LNG power plant was successfully commissioned at the end of the quarter and began feeding low-cost, clean energy into the Santa Elena electrical power grid. Finally, San Dimas continues to benefit from strong mine development rates and produced over 2.9 million silver equivalent ounces.”
|Ore processed/tonnes milled||614,245||599,142||3%||625,332||-2%|
|Silver ounces produced||2,908,024||3,151,980||-8%||3,452,959||-16%|
|Gold ounces produced||23,873||32,202||-26%||26,343||-9%|
|Silver equivalent ounces produced||4,540,296||6,195,057||-27%||5,477,492||-17%|
Total ore processed during the quarter at the Company’s mines amounted to 614,245 tonnes, representing a 2% decrease compared to the previous quarter. The decrease in tonnes processed was primarily due to a severe winter ice storm in the month of February which temporarily reduced plant throughput rates at La Encantada offset by improved underground ore deliveries and plant production rates at Santa Elena.
Consolidated silver and gold grades in the quarter averaged 166 g/t and 1.26 g/t, respectively, compared to 194 g/t and 1.37 g/t, respectively, in the previous quarter. The decrease in consolidated grades was primarily due to lower ore grades at the La Encantada and San Dimas mines.
Consolidated silver and gold recoveries were consistent averaging 89% and 96%, respectively, during the quarter.
*Certain amounts shown may notadd exactly tothetotal amount due to rounding differences.
*The following prices were used in the calculation of silver equivalent ounces: Silver: $26.26 per ounce, Gold: $1,794 per ounce.
At the San Dimas Silver/Gold Mine:
- San Dimas produced 1,716,143 ounces of silver and 17,448 ounces of gold representing a decrease of 12% and 13%, respectively, compared to the prior quarter for total production of 2,910,946 silver equivalent ounces.
- The mill processed a total of 199,466 tonnes with average silver and gold grades of 285 g/t and 2.83 g/t, respectively. Increased ore development rates and lower ore grade from development activities resulted in lower average ore grades processed in the plant.
- Silver and gold recoveries during the quarter averaged 94% and 96%, respectively.
- A total of 10 underground drill rigs were active at the end of the quarter.
At the Santa Elena Silver/Gold Mine:
- During the quarter, Santa Elena produced 453,528 ounces of silver and 6,327 ounces of gold representing an increase of 8% and 1%, respectively, compared to the prior quarter for total production of 884,332 silver equivalent ounces.
- · The mill processed a total of 185,358 tonnes consisting of 122,401 tonnes of underground ore and 62,957 tonnes from the above ground heap leach pad. Production rates returned to higher operating levels following multiple improvements made in mining methods and increased production at the Main, Alejandra Bajo and America veins. At the end of the quarter, mining and milling rates were above budget levels for the first time in over a year as a result of progress made in improving underground infrastructure, development and haulage rates compared to the previous nine months. Underground ore production in March totaled 55,266 tonnes compared to 34,379 tonnes in January and 43,809 tonnes in February.
- Silver and gold recoveries were consistent and averaged 93% and 96%, respectively, during the quarter.
- Final commissioning procedures of Santa Elena’s new LNG power plant were completed in February with all seven LNG generators pre-commissioned and achieving designed power capacity. At the end of the quarter, the LNG power plant was supplying approximately 85% of the power requirements to the Santa Elena operation. In the weeks ahead, the LNG plant is expected to ramp-up to full capacity.
- Procurement activities for Ermitaño’s underground mining and drilling fleet continued in March with the purchase order of a scoop tram, low-profile truck and underground drilling machine. This equipment is expected to be delivered by the end of the third quarter in advance of planned production ramp-up. On surface, fauna and flora clearance in preparation for constructing the main access roadway between the processing plant and the portal area was approximately 70% complete at the end of the quarter. Furthermore, contractor selection and major earthmoving actions are expected to commence in the second quarter. The Company is also expected to begin underground test stope mining in the second quarter and plans to extract between 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes of material over the next six months.
- A total of seven drill rigs, consisting of four surface rigs and three underground rigs, were active at the end of the quarter.
At the La Encantada Silver Mine:
- During the quarter, La Encantada processed 229,421 tonnes of ore and produced 738,354 ounces of silver, representing a 32% decrease in ounces compared to the prior quarter. During the month of February, the operation experienced a severe winter ice storm which elevated maintenance levels and temporarily reduced plant throughput rates.
- Silver grades and recoveries during the quarter averaged 131 g/t and 77%, respectively. During the quarter, the Company transitioned underground mine production from the high-grade portion of the La Prieta caving area into the 660 orebody, Milagros and La Fe areas. Additional draw points were completed in these areas towards the end of March which are expected to allow ore grades to return to budget levels in the second quarter.
- The mill modernization project advanced during the quarter with the completion of the factory acceptance test for the new scrubber. In addition, two thickener mechanisms are expected to be ready for installation by the end of the second quarter.
- Two underground drill rigs were active at the end of the quarter.
Q1 EARNINGS AND DIVIDEND ANNOUNCEMENT
The Company is planning to release its first quarter 2021 unaudited financial results, and to announce its first quarter dividend payment, and shareholder record and payable dates on Thursday, May 6, 2021.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
First Majestic is a publicly traded mining company focused on silver production in Mexico and is aggressively pursuing the development of its existing mineral property assets. The Company presently owns and operates the San Dimas Silver/Gold Mine, the Santa Elena Silver/Gold Mine and the La Encantada Silver Mine. Production from these mines are projected to be between 12.5 to 13.9 million silver ounces or 20.6 to 22.9 million silver equivalent ounces in 2021.
FIRST MAJESTIC SILVER CORP.
Keith Neumeyer, President & CEO