GOLDEN, Colo., April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Golden Minerals Company (NYSE MKT: AUMN; TSX: AUM) ("Golden Minerals" or "the Company") announces preliminary production results from the Velardena Operations for the first quarter 2013.
Payable production during the first quarter 2013 totaled approximately 215,000 silver equivalent ounces (equivalents calculated at 50:1, gold: silver) and included 150,000 ounces of silver and 1,300 ounces of gold. Total payable production increased 9 percent compared to the fourth quarter 2012. These amounts are in line with the Company's 2013 operating plan.
Payable silver production during the first quarter 2013 reached a record high of approximately 150,000 ounces, 12 percent greater than the fourth quarter 2012. Payable gold production during the first quarter 2013 totaled approximately 1,300 ounces, 2 percent greater than the fourth quarter 2012. Payable production figures include only silver and gold. The Company also produced approximately 320,000 pounds of payable lead and 460,000 pounds of payable zinc during the first quarter 2013, also in line with the Company's 2013 operating plan.
On March 8, 2013, Mexican regulatory authorities suspended the Company's explosives permit for the principal producing areas of the Velardena Operations due to the proximity of the blasting cap magazine to the occupied mine facilities, a situation that had existed for more than a decade. The Company immediately relocated the employees to other mine buildings and regulatory authorities agreed on March 9 that the Company's remediation plan was acceptable, pending the regulatory authority's compliance with its formal procedures to reinstate the permit. The permit was reinstated on April 10, 2013 and the Velardena Operations are currently in the process of rebuilding broken rock inventory. During the permit suspension, the Company used the opportunity to complete additional flow capacity in the oxide leach circuit and add cleaner flotation capacity to the float circuit ahead of the oxide circuit. These projects are anticipated to improve both silver and gold recoveries.
The Company's 2013 operating plan calls for an increase in quarterly production throughout the year. Production in the first quarter was not significantly affected by the explosives permit suspension due to the availability of stockpiled broken ore, but due to the depletion of broken ore in the mine and the duration of the suspension, the Company expects second quarter production to be lower than the first quarter. The Company continues to expect that the San Mateo ramp will be completed during the third quarter 2013, and that production in the third and fourth quarters will exceed first quarter production as broken material inventories are replenished in the mine and additional development work opens new stopes for production. The Company currently expects to produce between 900,000 and one million ounces of payable silver equivalent in 2013 due to the explosive permit suspension.
About Golden Minerals
Golden Minerals Company is a Delaware corporation based in Golden, Colorado, primarily engaged in silver and gold mining at its Velardena Operations in Mexico and advancement of the evaluation stage El Quevar project in Argentina.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act, and applicable Canadian securities laws, including statements regarding anticipated 2013 production at the Velardena Operations, the timing of completion of the San Mateo ramp and other anticipated mine development and production ramp-up at the Velardena Operations, and continued optimization of the plants. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, including unexpected events at the Velardena Operations, including delays or problems in mine development and plant optimization; operational changes or problems including problems with the Santa Juana shaft that reduce transportation of mined material; variations in ore grade and relative amounts, grades and metallurgical characteristics of oxide and sulfide ores; delays or failure in receiving required board or government approvals or permits or suspensions of existing permits; technical, permitting, mining, metallurgical or processing issues; failure to achieve anticipated production and improvements in head grades, recoveries and concentrate production and quality at the Velardena Operations; delays in or failure to realize anticipated benefits of plant optimization efforts; unfavorable interpretations and changes in interpretation of geologic information; failure to realize anticipated production increases from the anticipated increase in mine development or completion of the San Mateo ramp; loss of and inability to adequately replace underground mine employees and skilled mining and management personnel; higher than anticipated levels of employee absenteeism; disputes with customers or joint venture partners; failure of undeveloped or newly developed ore or veins to meet expectations; volatility or other changes in the U.S. and Canadian securities markets; availability and cost of materials, supplies and electrical power required for mining operations and exploration; fluctuations in silver, gold, zinc and lead prices, costs and general economic conditions; changes in political conditions, tax, environmental and other laws; and diminution of physical safety of employees in Mexico and other conditions in the countries in which the Company operates. Additional risks relating to Golden Minerals Company may be found in the periodic and current reports filed with the Securities Exchange Commission by Golden Minerals Company, including the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012.
For additional information please visit http://www.goldenminerals.com/ or contact:
Golden Minerals Company
Director of Investor Relations
SOURCE Golden Minerals Company