• Silver production up 36% in 2022 vs. 2021
• Silver production up 26% in Q4 2022 vs. Q4 2021
VANCOUVER, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Gatos Silver, Inc. (NYSE/TSX: GATO) (“Gatos Silver” or the “Company”) today announced above-guidance and record silver production from its 70%-owned Cerro Los Gatos (“CLG”) mine for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2022.
Dale Andres, CEO of Gatos Silver, commented: “Our excellent results reflect the quality of the CLG assets and the management team’s ability to improve operations and maximize cash flows. Our focus in 2023 will be to further optimize operational performance, advance our mine life extension opportunities by converting the higher-grade portion of our current mineral resource into reserves and advancing definition drilling on the mineralization recently discovered at depth in the new South-East Deeps zone. We will also be focusing on exploring our extensive land package in the highly prospective Los Gatos district.”
Production Results (100% basis)
Silver production was a record of 10.3 million ounces in 2022, up 36% from 7.6 million ounces in 2021, and above the high end of the most recent 2022 guidance range of 9.35 million to 9.65 million ounces. The production guidance, provided on October 11, 2022, was increased from the initial 2022 guidance range provided on January 25, 2022 of 8.5 million to 9.0 million ounces.
Zinc, lead and gold production also increased during 2022, with zinc and gold near the high end of guidance, and lead near the guidance midpoint. Compared with 2021, zinc production increased by 22%, lead production by 10%, and gold production by 2%.
Silver production for the fourth quarter of 2022 was a record of 2.9 million ounces, up 26% from 2.3 million ounces in the fourth quarter of 2021 and surpassing the previous record of 2.7 million ounces achieved in the third quarter of 2022. Zinc production increased by 5%, lead production declined by 5%, and gold production increased by 8%, compared with the fourth quarter of 2021.
The higher silver production for the quarter and year ended 2022 was primarily due to higher silver ore grades and higher mill throughput rates. Production sequencing in 2022 was from the highest-grade sections of the orebody, as considered in the 2022 LOM Plan. Mill throughput averaged 2,847 tonnes per day during the fourth quarter of 2022, an increase of 9% compared to the fourth quarter of 2021. During 2022 the mill achieved a record 2,662 tonnes per day, which was 7% higher than in 2021. Silver, zinc and lead recoveries for the year ended 2022 were also higher than in 2021.
Increased fourth quarter and 2022 output was supported by continued debottlenecking and optimization efforts focused on achieving higher mining rates through increased productivities and improved mine plan flexibility. During the fourth quarter, construction and commissioning of the paste plant was completed and to date three production stopes have been successfully filled with paste backfill. The paste plant is expected to increase operational flexibility and productivity as well as helping to lower operating costs going forward. Construction of the zinc concentrate leach plant is progressing well and is expected to be commissioned in the second quarter of 2023.
CLG comparative production highlights are summarized below:
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