Strong Production From Bolivar Despite COVID-19 Pandemic
Sierra Metals Inc. (TSX:SMT) has recorded solid second-quarter 2020 production results featuring the strong operational performance at its Bolivar Mine.
Results are from Sierra Metals’ three Latin America underground mines in Latin America – the Yauricocha polymetallic mine in Peru, and the Bolivar copper and Cusi silver Mines in Mexico.
Second Quarter 2020 Production Highlights
- Copper production of 9.7 million pounds; in-line with Q2 2019
- Silver production of 0.6 million ounces; a 32% decrease from Q2 2019
- Gold production of 2,762 ounces; a 9% increase from Q2 2019
- Zinc production of 13.7 million pounds; a 17% decrease from Q2 2019
- Lead production of 6.4 million pounds; a 21% decrease from Q2 2019
- Copper equivalent production of 22.7 million pounds; a 10% decrease from Q2 2019
- Production at Yauricocha and Bolivar impacted in April and May due to the government-imposed shutdowns to contain the advancement of COVID-19.
- Cusi remained under care and maintenance throughout the quarter
Quarterly throughput from the Yauricocha and Bolivar Mines was negatively impacted by the shutdowns announced by the Peruvian and the Mexican Governments to contain the advancement of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both the mines, while maintaining essential activities, operated at reduced capacities for the April and May months. These restrictions were relaxed for mining companies in June, and the company began to recall its furloughed employees and started ramping up the operations to full capacity.
The Cusi mine remained under care and maintenance throughout the quarter, due to its proximity to urban communities.
Consolidated production of copper remained in-line at 9.7 million pounds, silver decreased 32% to 0.6 million ounces, lead decreased 21% to 6.4 million pounds, zinc declined 17% to 13.7 million pounds, and gold increased 9% to 2,762 ounces compared to Q2 2019. Consolidated silver production dropped since there was no production at Cusi during the quarter, while gold production increased largely due to higher gold grades from the Bolivar Mine.
The Yauricocha Mine experienced a 20% reduction in throughput during Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019, due to the afore-mentioned government-imposed state of emergency. The reduction in throughput was partially offset by higher head grades and higher silver and gold recoveries at Yauricocha, which resulted in a 15% decrease in copper equivalent pounds produced during Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019.
At Bolivar, higher grades and recoveries were partially offset by the 5% decrease in throughput, resulting in a 24% increase in copper equivalent pounds produced during Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019.
Luis Marchese, President, and CEO of Sierra Metals, said a mere 5% decrease in throughput, despite the COVID-19 related shutdown, resulted from the increased plant capacity attributable to the expansion completed at the end of 2019.
“The company had solid production results in the second quarter despite the negative implications of the shutdowns that occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Marchese said.
“At Yauricocha and Bolivar, the company was able to maintain essential activities while fully complying with the government protocols during the state of emergency.
“I want to thank our workers at the mines for their dedication and efforts during these difficult times, which lead the Company to have remarkably high productivity levels.
“While Cusi remained in care and maintenance due to its proximity to urban centres, we are working through a process that will allow us to safely return workers to the mine and ramp up production.
“Through the period of downtime, we reviewed our processes at each mine site, targeting improving efficiencies and identifying optimized exploration sequencing to add to our reserves and resources.
“As we ramp-up towards full capacity, we continue to adhere to strict health protocols protecting our operations, our employees, and the communities in which we operate.”