Great Panther Mining Limited (TSE:GPR) (NYSEAMERICAN:GPL) achieved a solid start to the year, more than doubling group gold equivalent production in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, the group told investors Thursday.
The firm's output for the three months was 35,000 gold-equivalent ounces, which was 134% higher than the first quarter of 2019, driven by operational improvements at its Tucano gold mine and a first full quarter of output from the Brazilian mine.
Tucano saw 26,000 ounces of gold produced in the first quarter, which was 12% up year-on-year due to higher plant throughput as well as improved recoveries. This was particularly impressive for a quarter, where output is usually seasonally lower at Tucano, Great Panther noted.
"We had a solid start to the year, achieving production growth supporting our 2020 annual guidance, completing a strong advance in stripping at Tucano which will benefit production later in 2020 and in 2021, and commencing our exploration programs," Jeffrey Mason, Great Panther's interim president and CEO said in a statement.
"We remain well-positioned to deliver on our 2020 objectives while keeping our workforce and communities safe by proactively and collaboratively working with local, state and federal authorities in managing the ongoing challenges of (coronavirus) COVID-19."
Aside from the Tucano mine in Brazil, Great Panther also has two Mexican mining operations - the Topia mine and the Guanajuato Mine Complex (GMC).
At GMC, 393,000 silver equivalent ounces were generated, an 11% increase on the first quarter of 2019, benefitting from higher throughput, silver grades, and recoveries, the firm said.
Meanwhile, Topia produced 376,303 silver equivalent ounces in the quarter, a decrease of 11% compared to the same period in 2019. This was attributed to lower tonnage processed, lower gold grades and silver recoveries and the change in metal equivalency ratios, but was partly offset by higher silver grades and gold recoveries.
At its Coricancha asset in Peru, which Great Panther says is not material to its operations, the firm continues to evaluate the timeline and conditions for a potential re-start of the mine.
In the first quarter, the company said it undertook a limited mining and mill processing campaign of around 25,000 tonnes. But these activities have been temporarily suspended in accordance with the Peruvian government-mandated restrictions until April 13 this year, the firm said.
Great Panther raised US$14 million of additional non-dilutive capital from Samsung and Banco Bradesco in Brazil in the first quarter, further strengthening a cash position of US$37 million as at the end of 2019.
Shares in New York surged over 24% on the day to stand at $0.39 each.
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