Results are from Sierra Metals’ three underground mines in Latin America: the Yauricocha polymetallic mine in Peru and the Bolivar copper and Cusi silver mines in Mexico.
Silver production was 1.0 million ounces, a 1% increase from Q1 2020. Copper production was 7.9 million pounds, a 33% decrease from Q1 2020, mainly due to a temporary shift from copper-rich zones to lower-grade polymetallic areas at Yauricocha caused by temporary operational challenges. Lead production was 9.0 million pounds, a 1% decrease from Q1 2020. Zinc production was 24.1 million pounds, an 11% increase from Q1 2020
Gold production was 2,636 ounces, a 28% decrease from Q1 2020. Copper equivalent production was 25.5 million pounds, an 18% decrease from Q1 2020. There was record quarterly throughput of 3,728 tonnes per day at the Yauricocha mine.
The Yauricocha mine achieved 14% higher throughput as compared with Q1 2020 despite the various operational challenges still posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lower grades for all metals negated the impact of higher throughput resulting in a 21-per-cent decrease in copper equivalent pounds produced during Q1 2021 compared with Q1 2020.
At Bolivar, a 2% decrease in throughput combined with lower grades for all metals resulted in a 20% decrease in copper equivalent pounds produced during Q1 2021 as compared with Q1 2020. At Cusi, 30% higher silver grades offset the impact of 2% lower throughput in Q1 2021 as compared with Q1 2020, resulting in 17% higher silver equivalent Q1 2021 production.
Luis Marchese, CEO, commented, “Facing ongoing operational difficulties due to COVID-19 in Peru and Mexico, the company performed relatively well during the first quarter with a 4.5% increase in consolidated throughout as well as record quarterly throughput at Yauricocha. These results were despite of other additional challenges, including a power failure at the Cusi mine. Additionally, at Yauricocha we experienced some operational issues at the Esperanza zone, which provides most of the copper ore for the mine. However, these have since been resolved and normal operations have resumed. Annual production guidance remains in place without any changes.”
He concluded: “The coming months continue to look challenging for the company due to COVID-19 operational constraints at all mines but particularly in Peru. We expect to improve upon the first quarter production results and continue to work on completion of preliminary feasibility studies for all three mines building upon the positive preliminary economic assessments released in 2020.”