The next six months or so could be pivotal in the evolution of precious metals miner Great Panther Silver Ltd (TSX:GPR: NYSE:GPL).
Its Guanajuato and Topia mines in Mexico both have long-established track records of stable production but soon adding to the mix could be its Chilean mine - Coricancha - if the firm decides to press go.
That could lift the group's overall production by the order of 75%, relatively new chief executive James Bannantine recently highlighted to Proactive.
He joined the company around a year ago now, taking on the mantle from seasoned mining veteran Bob Archer.
The potential returns at Coricancha are significant. Great Panther picked the project up from Nyrstar for US$100,000, securing as part of the transaction a closure bond from Nyrstar to cover any potential environmental costs if the project doesn’t go ahead.
"We’re optimistic on the potential of this mine,” says Bannantine in February this year.
"The key is to generate enough ore feed to the plant. Our plan is to expand the number of working faces on the mine."
Decent looking PEA
A preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for Coricancha in May this year demonstrated robust numbers and low capital costs.
Significantly, the mine is estimated to generate an after-tax net present value (NPV) of US$16.6mln and an impressive after-tax internal rate of return (IRR) of 81%.
Margins were also shown to be decent, factoring in all-in sustaining costs of US$2.20 per payable silver ounce, or US$547 per payable gold ounce, over the life of the mine - 3.75 years.
WATCH: Great Panther Silver CEO says Coricancha PEA results indicate it’s a 'robust' economic project
Bannantine said he was "very excited" about the PEA, which was an important milestone for Great Panther. He also noted that the deposit was open at depth and strike.
READ THE BIG PIC: Great Panther Silver embarking on new phase of expansion and growth, supported by solid suite of Mexican assets
It is worth noting that Great Panther has already identified several opportunities to further enhance the economics of the project and increase the life of mine.
What's happening now in Peru?
A bulk sampling program is underway at the former mine, which will process around 6,000 tonnes of material at the current plant and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019.
The aim is to validate the key mine and process plant operating parameters used in the preliminary economic assessment (PEA) and then, in early 2019, whether to re-start the project or not.
Development so far has reached mineralization at the Constantia vein, which has shown a 2.05-metre vein width grading 151g/t (grams per ton) silver, 6.04 g/t gold, 2.94% lead, 1.06% zinc, and 0.12% copper.
Where else does Great Panther mine?
Aside from Coricancha activity, in Mexico, the firm operates the wholly-owned Guanajuato mine complex and the Topia mine.
The company says it also continues to pursue the acquisition of additional mining operations or projects in the Americas.
The share price in Toronto is now at C$1.08 - down 0.92%.