Hochschild Mining reported record first-quarter attributable production of 4.7 million ounces (oz) of silver, 69,030 oz of gold, or 132,035 gold equivalent oz. This was achieved despite scheduled annual stoppage at the San Jose mine. The company hopes to deliver on its overall 2018 production target of 514,000 gold equivalent ounces.

“Hochschild has delivered a strong start to the year with better than expected contributions from Inmaculada and Pallancata and our other mines performing as planned,” said Ignacio Bustamante, CEO, Hochschild Mining. “We are therefore firmly on track to meet our stated production and cost targets for 2018. We have also made an encouraging start to our ambitious 2018 brownfield exploration plan with campaigns already commenced at Inmaculada, Arcata and San Jose. Early results support our confidence in the program’s ability to deliver resource additions to our mineral base during 2018.”

Hochschild Mining operates four underground mines, three located in southern Peru and one in southern Argentina. The results are mostly the result of record output at Inmaculada as well as Pallancata.

Inmaculada’s first-quarter production was 49,781 oz of gold and 1.7 million oz of silver, which amounts to a record gold equivalent output of 72,351 oz and was principally driven by higher than expected gold grades, lower dilution and a contribution from products in process from the previous period.

At Pallancata, the ramp up of tonnage from the Pablo vein continued according to plan with the operation on track to mine approximately 2,200 metric tons per day (mt/d) by the end of the first half. Average grades from the mix of several veins were better than expected in the first quarter although this is expected to be only a seasonal effect. The operation produced 1.4 million oz of silver and 5,292 oz of gold, bringing the silver equivalent production total to 1.8 million oz, a 44% improvement on the corresponding period of 2017.

The San Jose mine in Argentina delivered a steady start to 2018 despite the traditionally shorter operational period due to the scheduled hourly workers holiday in February. Tonnage was slightly higher than the corresponding period of 2017, but this was offset by lower silver grades resulting in production of 1.4 million oz of silver and 22,085 oz of gold. Work on $14 million hydraulic backfill project has progressed well in the first quarter and is on track to be completed, as scheduled, by the end of the first half.

The Arcata mine operated according to plan during the period with production of 860,000 oz of silver and 2,693 ox of gold, which gives a silver equivalent figure of 1.1 million oz. Both tonnage and grades remained consistent at the operation with the focus still on improving the cost position and increasing the quality of resources through the 2018 brownfield exploration program, as well as other efficiency and productivity measures.