Great Panther Mining Ltd. [GPR-TSX; GPL-NYSE] released its first quarter (Q1) 2020 production results for its Tucano Gold Mine in Brazil, and two Mexican mining operations: the Topia Mine and the Guanajuato Mine Complex, which includes the San Ignacio and Guanajuato mines.
First Quarter 2020 Highlights
• More than doubled consolidated gold equivalent production: Produced 35,000 consolidated gold equivalent ounces, a 134% increase compared to the first quarter of 2019, driven by a full 2020 quarter of Tucano mine production and operational improvements;
• Increased production in a seasonally lower quarter at Tucano: Produced 26,000 ounces of gold, a 12% increase relative to Tucano’s first quarter of 2019 benefitting from higher plant throughput as well as improved gold recoveries and in line with guidance contemplating increasing production through 2020;
• Significant increase in material movement at Tucano and rehabilitation of UCS initiated: Achieved a 47% increase in material mined at Tucano relative to the first quarter of 2019, benefitting from implemented operational improvements and favorable weather conditions. Tucano started pre-stripping activities at the Urucum Central South pit, which are ahead of schedule. Geotechnical drilling and studies will be initiated by May with targeted recovery of nearly 90,000 ounces from UCS in 2021;
• Production growth at Guanajuato: Production of 393,000 silver equivalent ounces resulted in an 11% increase relative to the first quarter of 2019, benefitting from higher throughput, silver grades, and recoveries;
• Strong response to COVID-19: Enacted comprehensive safety protocols and contingency plans across all operations, projects and offices, along with filing of these protocols with Brazilian government authorities. A temporary four-week suspension of operations, until April 30, 2020, was implemented in Mexico in compliance with the federal government’s directive in response to COVID-19. Production for the affected Mexican operations during the four-week period is estimated at about 2% of annual consolidated gold equivalent production; and
• Enhanced liquidity: 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 at December 31, 2019.
• Consolidated operational results reflect Tucano production for the period following the March 5, 2019 date of acquisition. During the remainder of Q1 2019, while owned and operated by Great Panther, Tucano produced 5,164 gold ounces.
“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,” stated Jeffrey Mason, Interim President and CEO. “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 COVID-19.”
The company continues to evaluate the timeline and conditions for a potential re-start of the Coricancha Mine in Peru. In the first quarter of 2020, the company undertook a limited mining and mill processing campaign of approximately 25,000 tonnes; however, these activities have been temporarily suspended in accordance with the Peruvian government-mandated restrictions until April 13, 2020. Coricancha is not material to the company’s operations.
There are no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 across the company’s global mining operations, projects, and corporate offices.
Great Panther shares rose $0.09, or 20%, to $0.54 in April 9 trading.