Avino Silver & Gold Mines reported that it has reached commercial production at a second mine—the Avino mine—on its Avino silver-gold-copper property in Durango state, Mexico. The company has operated the 250-mt/d San Gonzalo mine on the property since 2012. The two mines feed a conventional flotation mill that has three separate circuits and a capacity of 1,500 mt/d.

Commercial production was declared at the Avino mine following a 19-month test period that established mineral recoveries at, or above, levels necessary for positive cash flows and profitability. On April 1, underground mining began on the mine’s level 11.5 using longhole-retreat sublevel caving.

The mill has consistently processed at levels above design capacity and budgeted production levels of 1,250 mt/d, with consistent recoveries and grades. During the first quarter of 2016, the Avino mine produced 226,000 oz of silver, 687 oz of gold, and 1.36 million lb of copper in copper concentrate. The San Gonzalo mine produced 177,000 oz of silver and 810 oz of gold in concentrate.

In July 2015, Avino entered into a term facility to sell Avino mine concentrate exclusively to Samsung C&T U.K. Ltd. Concentrate sales began in August 2015 and will continue under the agreement until July 2017, at which time the agreement will be re-evaluated. In return, Samsung made a payment of $10 million for purchase of new equipment and other mine improvements.

Avino continues to explore options for upgrading the mine’s tailings resource. The tailings are situated approximately 500 m west-southwest of the main shaft to the main Avino mine. The asset includes oxide and sulphide tailings, each requiring separate treatment methods. The tailings resource was created between 1976 and 2001 during Avino’s previous operation from both open-pit (oxide) and underground (sulphide) mining. Improved metals markets may now enable Avino to process the remaining silver and gold in the tailings.

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