Vancouver, British Columbia--(Newsfile Corp. - January 19, 2023) - First Majestic Silver Corp. (NYSE: AG) (TSX: FR) ("First Majestic" or the "Company") announces that total production in the fourth quarter of 2022 from the Company's four producing operations, the San Dimas Silver/Gold Mine, the Jerritt Canyon Gold Mine, the Santa Elena Silver/Gold Mine and the La Encantada Silver Mine reached 7.6 million silver equivalent ("AgEq") ounces, consisting of 2.4 million silver ounces and 63,039 gold ounces. Total production for the full year of 2022 reached a new Company record of 31.3 million AgEq ounces, consisting of 10.5 million silver ounces and 248,394 gold ounces, or a 16% increase compared to 2021.
In 2023, the Company is expecting to increase production to a new Company record of between 33.2 to 37.1 million AgEq ounces, consisting of 10.0 to 11.1 million ounces of silver and 277,000 to 310,000 ounces of gold, with an all-in sustaining cost ("AISC") guidance of between $18.47 to $19.72 per AgEq ounce. Based on the midpoint of the guidance range the Company expects AgEq ounces to increase 12% when compared to 2022.
Q4 2022 HIGHLIGHTS
Total Production Decreased by 14% Q/Q: The Company produced 7.6 million AgEq ounces representing a 14% decrease when compared to the record of 8.8 million AgEq ounces in the previous quarter. The decrease was primarily due to lower production at San Dimas and Santa Elena, slightly offset by higher gold production at Jerritt Canyon and higher silver production at La Encantada.
Transitioning to 100% Ermitaño Ores at Santa Elena: Continued strong metal production from the Ermitaño mine enabled Santa Elena to produce 2.3 million AgEq ounces in the fourth quarter, or 16% below the record 2.7 million AgEq in the prior quarter. In 2023, Santa Elena is expected to produce between 7.8 to 8.7 million AgEq ounces as it transitions to full production from Ermitaño while exploration continues at the recently discovered Silvana vein within the Santa Elena mine.
Significant Production Growth Geared Up at Jerritt Canyon in 2023: The secondary escapeway in the West Generator mine was completed in November allowing for improved ore production although a severe cold weather disturbance in December limited haulage and deliveries to the plant. With the additional ramp up of Smith Zone 10 and the restart of the Saval II mine, gold production at Jerritt Canyon is expected to be between 119,000 to 133,000 ounces in 2023, representing a mid-point increase of 74% compared to 2022.
Santa Elena's Dual-Circuit Completed: The Company successfully completed the commissioning of the dual-circuit processing plant at Santa Elena during the quarter which includes the new 3,000 tonne per day ("tpd") filter press, designed to improve the leaching performance and reduce operating costs.
10 Drill Rigs Active: The Company concluded its 2022 exploration program during the quarter by completing a total of 16,086 metres of drilling across the Company's mines. Throughout the quarter a total of 10 drill rigs were active consisting of four rigs at San Dimas, two rigs at Jerritt Canyon, three rigs at Santa Elena and one rig at La Encantada.
FY 2022 HIGHLIGHTS
Silver production in 2022 reached 10.5 million ounces (compared to 12.8 million ounces in 2021) which missed the lower end of the Company's revised guidance range of between 11.2 to 11.9 million ounces of silver primarily due to lower than expected silver grades at San Dimas and prioritizing higher gold grade ores from the Ermitaño mine at Santa Elena.
Gold production in 2022 reached a new Company record of 248,394 ounces (compared to 192,353 in 2021) but slightly missed the lower end of the Company's revised guidance range of between 256,000 to 273,000 ounces primarily due to lower than expected gold grades at Jerritt Canyon.
Santa Elena produced a new annual record of 9.1 million AgEq oz in 2022, representing an 81% increase compared to 2021.
The Santa Elena operation was awarded the prestigious "Silver Helmet Award" in the category of "Underground Mining of More Than 500 Workers" by the Mining Chamber of Mexico for its outstanding performance in occupational safety and health. The distinguished annual award of excellence is only awarded to a select handful of mining operations in Mexico.
Successfully expanded Santa Elena's liquid natural gas ("LNG") powerplant from 12 MW to 24 MW to supply low-cost, clean power to the Ermitaño mine and the recently completed dual-circuit plant.
Sold a record 444,576 ounces of silver bullion, representing a 27% increase compared to 2021 and approximately 4.2% of the Company's silver production, on First Majestic's online bullion store at an average silver price of $26.20 per ounce for total proceeds of $11.6 million.
"The Company reached a new annual production record of 31.3 million AgEq ounces in 2022 primarily due to the significant increase in production from the Ermitaño mine at Santa Elena," said Keith Neumeyer, President & CEO. "Santa Elena was the bright spot in our portfolio in 2022 as we brought the high-grade core vein online in the second half of 2022 which increased production by 81% compared to 2021. At Jerritt Canyon, we unfortunately ended the year with extremely challenging weather conditions as northern Nevada experienced a severe cold spell and double the normal snowfall amounts which impacted ore deliveries from SSX and West Generator. Our San Dimas and La Encantada mines in Mexico delivered solid results as expected."
Mr. Neumeyer continues, "For 2023, significant improvements are expected at Jerritt Canyon where gold production is projected to nearly double along with lower AISC when compared to 2022. Our Mexican operations, which are generating healthy margins at current prices, are estimated to generate 70% of our total production in 2023 with AISC of approximately $17 per oz."
Production Details Table:
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