GOLDEN, Colo., Jan. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Golden Minerals Company (NYSE MKT: AUMN; TSX: AUM) ("Golden Minerals" or "the Company") provides production results from the Velardena Operations for the fourth quarter 2012.
Payable production during the fourth quarter 2012 totaled a record of approximately 134,000 ounces of silver, an increase of about 13 percent over third quarter 2012 production and 72 percent greater than the fourth quarter 2011. Payable gold production during the fourth quarter 2012 was 1,300 ounces, about 33 percent less than the third quarter 2012 production and an increase of about eight percent above the fourth quarter 2011. Full year 2012 payable production totaled approximately 457,000 ounces of silver and 6,500 ounces of gold for a total of about 782,000 silver equivalent ounces for silver and gold only (equivalents calculated at 50:1).
Additionally, the Company produced approximately 330,000 pounds of payable lead and 480,000 pounds of payable zinc during the fourth quarter, bringing full year 2012 production to approximately 1.0 million pounds of lead and 1.4 million pounds of zinc.
Record silver production for the fourth quarter was achieved primarily due to efforts to reduce dilution to the ore feeding the mills, with a 45% increase in grade for the fourth quarter as compared to the first quarter. Gold production during the fourth quarter 2012 was negatively impacted by lower gold recovery at the Company's processing plants primarily due to the occurrence of different mineralogy in some of the newly developed ore areas and to a lesser extent by reduced tonnes mined during the fourth quarter due primarily to shortages of miners as previously reported. The Company is currently working to improve gold recoveries for the recently encountered ore, including testing different reagents and grinds in the sulfide plant, and conducting various tests to determine the ores or blend of ores that yield the best results in each plant. The Company is working with its unions to improve miner availability and have recovered about half of the shortfall.
The Company currently expects throughput rates at Velardena ranging from approximately 500 to 600 tonnes per day in 2013, ramping up late in the year with achievement of an 850 tonne per day production rate in late 2013 or early 2014. The Company is focused on improving gold recoveries, continued optimization of the plants and mine plan, and completion of the San Mateo ramp, which is expected in the fourth quarter 2013 as previously reported. The San Mateo ramp, which will permit trucking of ore from the productive Santa Juana mining unit to the concentrating facilities on the surface, should increase the amount of daily production from Santa Juana, as ore currently must be hoisted through an internal shaft with limited capacity. Prior to completion of the ramp, the Company had planned to augment material from Santa Juana with vein material from other mining areas to achieve a daily production rate of 850 tonnes per day in the third quarter 2013. However, recent mining in two of the other mining areas has encountered narrower veins than anticipated, making the earlier ramp-up less attractive.
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 throughput rates at the Velardena Operations, the timing of anticipated mine development and production ramp-up at the Velardena Operations, efforts to improve gold recoveries, continued optimization of the plants and mine plan, anticipated increase in daily production from the Santa Juana mining unit, . These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, including unexpected events at the Velardena Operations, including further 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; 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 gold production increases from the addition of the bulk flotation process being installed at the oxide plant; 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, 2011.
For additional information please visit http://www.goldenminerals.com/ or contact:
Golden Minerals Company
Director of Investor Relations
SOURCE Golden Minerals Company