Strike ended at Avino’s Mexican silver mine

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Avino Silver & Gold Mines Ltd. [ASM-TSX, NYSE American; GV6-Germ] on Thursday October 8 said it has reached an agreement with the Mexican Mining Union that has ended a strike at the company’s flagship Avino Mine, near Durango, Mexico.

“We have reached a conclusion to the strike at the Avino Mine. Negotiations were ongoing during the past 12 weeks and a successful resolution to a challenging situation has been achieved,” said Avino Silver President and CEO David Wolfin.

Avino shares advanced on the news, rising 2.4% or $0.03 to $1.28 in light trading. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $2.04 and 26.5 cents.

Until the end of last year, Avino operated two producing mines on its Avino property, including the Avino and San Gonzalo. The San Gonzalo Mine is located approximately 2 km from the original Avino Mine and beneath the shallow workings of an old mine from the Colonial period.

However, mining activity ceased at San Gonzalo during the fourth quarter of 2019 following seven years of mining. During that time, San Gonazalo produced 6.0 million silver equivalent ounces at an average cost of US$10/oz.

In 2019, Avino and San Gonzalo together produced 2.4 million ounces of silver equivalent.

More recently the company said its financial performance in the second quarter of 2020 was impacted by the temporary mine shutdown due to COVID-19, which in turn resulted in decreased production.

At the beginning of June, 2020, the company announced a phased ramp-up of operational activities and a production restart. However, the company said its plan to commence the 2020 exploration program, as well as connect the underground levels at Avino to allow for a higher haulage rate to surface for processing, was put on hold due to the strike.

On Thursday, the company said the strike is over. But due to the extended period of inactivity at the mine, and before it can restart operations, it needs to carry out a comprehensive evaluation of all underground milling and surface equipment to ensure that all are in excellent working condition.

Avino said it will also move forward with a dry-stack, tailings storage facility, known as TSF#2. The facility is located on private land. It is also permitted and currently in the final stage before construction begins.

The company recently expanded the milling operation at the Avino property to 2,500 tonnes per day, up from 1,500 tonnes. After increasing the measured and indicated resources by 225% at Avino, the company said it remains optimistic regarding the vast unexplored potential across the property which hosts dozens of historic shallow artisanal mines.

Total measured and indicated resources located in all deposits at the Avino mine property now stand at 10.6 million tonnes, averaging 139 g/t silver equivalent (AgEq), or 47.5 million ounces.

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