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Fresnillo expects Juanicipio to reach capacity in Q3

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Mexican miner Fresnillo said Wednesday that it aims to reach nameplate capacity at its US$440mn Juanicipio silver mine in Q3 instead of next quarter, as announced in a previous report.

“As reported, ore will be processed at the Juanicipio plant but can also continue to be processed at our nearby Saucito and Fresnillo operations if required,” the company said in a statement, adding that the focus now is to get the pyrites plant connected to the national grid by the end of Q1, with commissioning and ramp-up starting immediately afterward.

Juanicipio, a 56:44 JV with Canada’s MAG Silver, is expected to become one of Mexico's biggest silver mines, producing nearly 12Moz/y plus some 43,500oz/y gold.

Fresnillo, 75%-owned by Industrias Peñoles, raised its annual outlook for gold production, supported by an updated plan mine at Herradura and higher volumes at its Noche Buena mine. The group said it expects to record attributable gold production in the range of 590,000-640,000oz this year.

The miner said its guidance for 2023 is in line with previous expectations regarding silver equivalent ounces “due to the later than expected ramp-up at Juanicipio (from mid-2022 to early 2023) and tie-in of the pyrites plant at Fresnillo.” The company aims to record attributable silver production in the range of 57-64Moz, including Silverstream. 

In silver equivalent ounces, production is expected to be 104-115Moz. 

“During the year, we have worked hard to minimize the impact of a very tight labor market and to mitigate the impact of the labor reform in Mexico. Our recruitment and training campaigns are now complete and the mines are well staffed for 2023,” CEO Octavio Alvídrez said. 

London-listed Fresnillo reported its 2022 attributable gold production was down 15.3% to 635,900oz, “primarily due to a lower recovery rate as higher volumes of sulfide ore are processed and lower ore grade at Herradura, and a decrease in the volume of ore processed and lower ore grades at Noche Buena, Saucito and Ciénega.” 

Full-year attributable silver production was 53.7Moz (including Silverstream), “in line with guidance and slightly above FY21 with production from Juanicipio and increased volumes of ore processed at Fresnillo, offset by the lower ore grade at San Julián.”

Fresnillo is the world's biggest primary silver miner and Mexico's second biggest gold producer, while Mexico is the world's top silver producer.

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